The West African country of Burkina Faso has been repeatedly wracked by unrest and revolts since achieving independence in 1960. The political instability slows down the economic and social development of the country. The majority of its 20 million inhabitants consists of self-sufficient smallholders. The only business sectors of note are cotton production and mining, in particular gold mining. However, both income sources are extremely unstable. The exclusively overland export economy depends on the security situation in neighbouring countries as well as on the global market price. Both are subject to significant fluctuations. In addition, cotton production is very dependent on climatic conditions.