Does the Population of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Speak English?

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Does the Population of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Speak English?

When it comes to traveling to different countries, one of the challenges people face is communication. As the world becomes more globalized, the ability to speak English is becoming an essential skill for travelers. Ouagadougou is the capital city of Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa. The official language is French, and the country is known for its diverse ethnic groups and languages. In this article, we will explore whether people in Ouagadougou speak English and what you need to know if you plan to visit the city.

Languages Spoken in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a multilingual country with over 60 different languages spoken throughout the country, including Dyula, More, and Fulfulde. However, the official language, as mentioned earlier, is French. The country gained independence from France in 1960, and since then, French has been the language of administration, education, and media. The majority of the population speaks French, and it is a required subject in schools. Despite French being the official language, the country does not have a monolingual culture. Many Burkinabe speak more than one language, which makes communication easier. Learning the local language can be helpful in some contexts. Some Burkinabe, for example, may be more comfortable speaking their ethnic language than French.

English in Burkina Faso

English is not a widely spoken language in Burkina Faso, including Ouagadougou. Unlike French, English is not an official language in the country. Because of this, the population’s ability to speak English is limited. French is the dominant language of communication, and most Burkinabe only have a basic knowledge of English. It’s essential to note that the use and knowledge of English vary depending on the individual. Cities with higher levels of education, such as Ouagadougou, have people who speak English as a second language. With the influx of tourists, some locals in Ouagadougou have been learning English to improve their business prospects. As a result, some restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions have English-speaking staff.

Tips for Travelers to Ouagadougou

If you’re planning a trip to Ouagadougou, knowing some basic French phrases will make your trip more comfortable. It’s essential to learn the basics, such as greetings, saying please and thank you, and asking for help. Before departing for Ouagadougou, practicing some French phrases can help you communicate with locals and navigate daily tasks successfully.If you’re not proficient in French or any local language, it’s best to hire a translator or guide. A translator will help you traverse the city, communicate with locals, and arrange tours or bookings. They can also help you understand the culture and provide a more immersive experience. When choosing accommodations, select international hotels or those with English-speaking staff. Staff who speak English can assist you with any concerns, inquiries or provide some tips on the city. Most importantly, be patient and respectful of the culture and language barriers you may face.


In conclusion, French is the official language of Burkina Faso and the dominant language in Ouagadougou. English is not widely spoken in the city, with most Burkinabe having a basic knowledge of the language. If you’re planning a trip to Ouagadougou, it is essential to learn some basic French phrases, hire a translator or guide, and be patient with language barriers. By doing so, you can have an enjoyable and immersive experience in the city.

An Insider’s Guide to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Ouagadougou is the capital city of Burkina Faso, located in the West African region. The city has a population of over 2 million people and is known for its vibrant culture and tourism industry. The official language of Burkina Faso is French, but there are numerous ethnic languages spoken throughout the country, including Mossi, which is the most widely spoken language in Ouagadougou. In this insider’s guide, we will explore the city’s history, culture, local attractions, dining spots, and off-the-beaten-path attractions.

Local Attractions

When it comes to local attractions, Ouagadougou has plenty to offer. A few places that should top your list include the National Museum of Arts and Crafts, the Grand Mosque, the National Museum of Music, and the Central Market. The National Museum of Arts and Crafts offers visitors a glimpse into the culture and history of Burkina Faso. The Grand Mosque, located in the heart of the city, is one of the largest mosques in West Africa and is a must-see for anyone visiting Ouagadougou. The National Museum of Music is another great place to visit if you want to learn more about the country’s traditional music.

Dining Spots

Ouagadougou has a variety of local dining spots that offer traditional West African cuisine. Some of the must-visit places include Les Bambous, La Table de Kadi, and Le Verdoyant. Les Bambous is a popular restaurant that serves up delicious African cuisine in a cozy atmosphere. La Table de Kadi is another great spot that offers a mix of traditional and modern West African dishes. Le Verdoyant is known for its fresh ingredients and healthy meals, making it an ideal spot for the health-conscious traveler.

Cultural Experiences

One of the best ways to experience the local culture of Ouagadougou is by attending one of the city’s annual cultural festivals. The FESPACO Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in Africa and takes place every two years in Ouagadougou. The Festival des Masques et des Arts is another cultural event that celebrates traditional mask-making and dance. If you’re looking for a more low-key cultural experience, visit the Manyega Cultural Center, which hosts regular dance performances and traditional music shows.

Local History

Ouagadougou has a rich history that dates back to the 15th century. The city was once a part of the Mossi Kingdom and played a significant role in the trans-Saharan trade. Today, visitors can learn about the city’s history by visiting the National Museum of Burkina Faso, the Laongo Sculpture Symposium, and the Independence Monument.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Attractions

For travelers looking to get off the beaten path, Ouagadougou has plenty of hidden gems to explore. One such place is the Maison du Peuple, a historic building that was once the city’s central market. Another hidden gem is the Banfora Cascades, located about 85 kilometers from Ouagadougou. The cascades are a series of waterfalls and natural pools that are surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. A visit to the Gounghin Cemetery is also a unique experience, as it is one of the only cemeteries in West Africa that has elaborate and ornate tombstones.

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s cultural sites, trying new local dishes, or getting off the beaten path, Ouagadougou has something for everyone. With its unique blend of colonial architecture, traditional culture, and modern amenities, this West African capital city should definitely be on your travel bucket list.


Does the Population of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Speak English?

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