Great Mosque of Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. Japan_mark3 / Shutterstock.com.

Burkina Faso is a country in West Africa covering an area of ​​105,900 square kilometers with a general population of 17.3 million. A landlocked country, it is surrounded by six countries, Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. It was colonized by the French until 1960, when they gained independence. It is therefore a French-speaking country because French is its official language. There are ten major cities and more than fifty other cities in the country, so it is an urbanized country but not completely. We are going to look at the different religious groups in the country.

Religious beliefs in Burkina Faso

Islam

In the 11and century, the Mossi kingdoms had occupied Upper Volta (also Burkina Faso) protecting their religious and traditional beliefs from outside influences, especially Muslims from the northwest. This practice changed on the 15and century when the Upper Volta region opened trading centers like the Akan Goldfield which allowed merchants to trade in gold, kola nuts and salt. As a result of these changes and developments, it attracted the Muslim merchants who established their colonies there and intermarriage between them, and the local women took place hence a transformation of the inhabitants. Muslims were considered part of the Mossi Kingdom, and Islam spread throughout the Upper Volta region, Ivory Coast and Guinea and it was promoted through the construction of mosques, festivals Muslims and the media. Muslims in the country constitute 61.1% of the entire population

Roman Catholic Christianity

Roman Catholicism developed in Upper Volta (Burkina Faso) with the arrival of French colonialists in 1896. A missionary helped establish Catholicism firmly in the country and between 1900 and 1901 Catholic missions had already been established. The country’s Roman Catholic Church is part of the Rome-based global Catholicism and constitutes 19% of the country’s total population.

Traditional African Religions and Folk Beliefs

African traditional beliefs are mainly the various religions and traditional beliefs like the belief in spirits and a supreme creator, veneration of the dead, traditional medicine, among others. With the arrival of Muslims and colonialists in present-day Burkina Faso, the fusion of Christianity or Islam took place alongside these beliefs. Even though there has been general adherence and acceptance of beliefs, traditional African believers constitute 11.3% of the entire population.

Protestant Christianity

Protestant Christianity in Burkina Faso is the minority religion as it represents only 5.5% of the entire population. Protestants are generally against the teaching of Roman Catholic teachings and are mainly based in Ouagadougou as well as Bobo-Dioulasso.

Atheism or agnosticism

Atheism in the general sense is the rejection of existing deities or religious beliefs, and often criticism of religion. Atheists always argue from philosophical, social and historical approaches to the lack of substantial evidence for the existence of a god. They constitute 1% of the population and are often considered non-existent.

Traditional religious beliefs in Burkina Faso

2.1% of the population of Burkina Faso believe in other supreme beings and acceptance of all these different religions is widespread. The country’s constitution promotes all forms of religion and respects each citizen’s form of worship as long as it does not interfere with others.

Religious beliefs in Burkina Faso

Rank belief system Share of population in Burkina Faso
1 Islam 61.1%
2 Roman Catholic Christianity 19.0%
3 Traditional African religions and/or popular beliefs 11.3%
4 Protestant Christianity 5.5%
5 Atheism or agnosticism 1.0%
Other beliefs 2.1%