Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. It weighs equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each country. The research combines 1,000 different data points to arrive at the conclusions.
Top 10 Countries Most Similar to Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso is a country in the Tropical Africa region. The top five countries most similar to it were colonized by France and were once part of French West Africa. As a result, these countries all use French as their official language and use the West African CFA franc. Their people can even travel between these countries without visas. They are all part of the Economic Community of West African States as well.
- Benin also has a mix of Christians and Muslims. In addition, their governments are extremely similar. Both have relatively liberal abortion and alcohol laws. However, they do not share many similar ethnic groups, except for having around 10 percent Fula people. In addition, their diets are not similar either. People in Benin eat far more chicken and yams, in contrast to Burkina Faso, where beef, corn, and millet is more popular.
- Mali is another landlocked country that borders Burkina Faso. Both countries have a significant percentage of Fula people. Their governments are also similar. Although they are not especially democratic, they are also not dictatorships. They both have unicameral legislatures with many different parties represented. Mali and Burkina Faso also allow polygamy and unorganized prostitution. However, while both have a majority Muslim populations, Mali has a far lower percentage of Christians. Its landscape is also more devoid of vegetation than Burkina Faso’s.
- Senegal‘s infrastructure is especially similar to Burkina Faso. Both countries are not well developed and rely on oil to create electricity. In addition, their climates are extremely similar, since both countries are on the border between the Sahel and Sub-Saharan Africa. Both countries are secular democracies after Burkina Faso’s dictator was overthrown in 2014. However, while both have a majority Muslim population, Senegal has a far lower percentage of Christians.
- Ivory Coast is a located to the southwest of Burkina Faso. Both countries have a significant portion of its population that natively speak Dyula. They also have a diverse mix of Muslims, Catholics, and Protestants. In addition, their people tend to drink a lot of liqueur. However, Ivory Coast has a lower percentage of agricultural land and the crops they grow are completely different. Ivory Coast grows a lot of cocoa and cashews, while Burkina Faso grows more sorghum, millet, and cow peas. Another difference is that Ivory Coast uses mostly natural gas, not oil to create electricity.
- Togo is directly to the south of Burkina Faso, between Benin and Ghana. A high percentage of land in both countries is used for agriculture. They both grow corn, cotton, and sorghum. Both countries were dictatorships for several decades, although Burkina Faso’s dictator was overthrown in 2014, and the country has become more democratic. One difference is religion, since far more people in Togo practice Voodoo, although it also has both Christians and Muslims as well.
- Guinea, 7. Niger, 8. Guinea-Bissau, 9. Chad, 10. Central African Republic
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Burkina Faso
The four least similar countries to Burkina Faso are located in Asia and border the Pacific Ocean. Most of their people live in urbanized areas close to the coast, in contrast to Burkina Faso. These countries also get far more rainfall. The standard of living in all five of the least similar countries is very high. In addition, their infrastructure is well developed. With the exception of Singapore, these countries are also much more mountainous than Burkina Faso.
- Japan is by far the least similar country to Burkina Faso. Its geography is especially different, since it is a mountainous archipelago with a temperate climate and lots of rainfall. Its demographics and culture are also quite different. There really isn’t much in common between the two, except that the average height and weight of their people are similar. Not only is Japan’s infrastructure better developed, but in contrast to Burkina Faso, the country drives on the left, uses Type A, B electrical outlets, and 100v standard voltage.
- Taiwan, like Japan, is another East Asian country bordering the Pacific Ocean that has little in common with Burkina Faso. They do not share a common language, writing system, or religion. However Taiwan’s average temperature is similar to Burkina Faso’s, although it gets far much more rainfall. According to the Lewis Model, Taiwan’s people are also far less outgoing than Burkina Faso’s. Soccer is also more popular in Burkina Faso.
- Singapore is a small densely populated island located in Southeast Asia. While Burkina Faso has a high percentage of agricultural land, Singapore imports the vast majority of its food since it has few farms. It was once a colony of Britain, so it drives on the left and uses Type G electrical outlets, unlike Burkina Faso. It is also far wealthier. However, both countries have a significant amount of both Christians and Muslims, although Singapore is even more religiously diverse since it also has many Buddhists and Hindus.
- South Korea is another yet another East Asian country on this list. Although Burkina Faso and Taiwan have little in common culturally, South Korea does have a significant percentage of Christians, but the country is less religious. South Korea also has the highest percentage of college graduates in the world, in contrast to Burkina Faso. However, they do share some similarity in technology. They both use Type C electrical outlets and drive on the right. Burkina Faso’s infrastructure is still far less well developed.
- Norway has a lot of coastline and is far more mountainous than Burkina Faso. In addition, its climate is also much colder. It is also far more wealthy and its infrastructure is more developed. However, unlike the top 4 countries, its time zone is only one hour ahead of Burkina Faso. Both countries primarily use the Latin script, although the native languages spoken in these countries are from different language families.
- New Zealand, 7. Canada , 8. United States, 9. United Kingdom, 10. Iceland
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Burkina Faso is like a mixture of Mali and Benin
Mali and Benin are the two most similar countries to Burkina Faso, but they have different traits which makes them like Burkina Faso. Mali is mostly Muslim, while Benin is mostly Christian. Burkina Faso a significant percentage of both groups. Mali’s climate is drier than Burkina Faso’s, while Benin’s climate has more rainfall. Mali’s diet is closer to Burkina Faso, since they both eat a lot of corn, sorghum, and millet. Benin’s energy sources are closer to Burkina Faso, since they both are reliant on oil.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Burkina Faso
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Guinea-Bissau
Most Similar Culture: Ivory Coast
Most Similar Government: Benin
Most Similar Infrastructure: Mali
Most Similar Geography: Senegal
Least Similar Demographics: Japan
Least Similar Culture: Japan
Least Similar Government: Saudi Arabia
Least Similar Infrastructure: Singapore
Least Similar Geography: Japan