Bobo-Dioulasso is a city in Burkina Faso with a population of about 537,728. It is the second largest city in the country, after Ouagadougou, the capital. The name means ‘home of the Bobo’ but does not capture the complex identity and ethnicity of the location.
About Bobo-Dioulasso in brief
Bobo-Dioulasso is a city in Burkina Faso with a population of about 537,728. It is the second largest city in the country, after Ouagadougou, the capital. The city is significant both economically and culturally, as it is a major center of culture and music. The name means ‘home of the Bobo’ but does not capture the complex identity and ethnicity of the location. There are two distinct dialects spoken of Jula, based on the origins of different peoples who speak this language. Little new industry arrived in the city during the 1980s and 1990s. Since 2000 the city has engaged in a new growth spurt, gaining in population and economic vitality. Residents have returned home following the internal crisis in neighboring Ivory Coast, and the economy has been stimulated by new demands for its goods and services. The West African Centre for Economic Studies is a new university intended as the first piece of historic development of the country.
The university is located in the historic centre of the city and is intended to be the first of its kind in the world. It was founded by the French colonial government in the early 20th century and is located on a narrow spit of land bounded by 10-to-15-foot-deep ravines on either side, carved by the We river to the east and by its tributary Sanyo to the west. The French government razed the old village of Tunuma and the other settlements; their population was relocated either to neighboring villages or to a previously farmed empty zone 3 kilometres away. The Abidjan Railway reached Bobo- Dioulasso in 1934, increasing its access to markets, transportation, and communications. In 1927 the French government constructed a typical European grid pattern of new avenues and streets, intersected by diagonals radiating from a center, with square urban lots between them.