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Africa :: Benin
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Benin
  • Introduction :: BENIN

  • Present day Benin was the site of Dahomey, a West African kingdom that rose to prominence in about 1600 and over the next two and a half centuries became a regional power, largely based on its slave trade. Coastal areas of Dahomey began to be controlled by the French in the second half of the 19th century; the entire kingdom was conquered by 1894. French Dahomey achieved independence in 1960; it changed its name to the Republic of Benin in 1975.
    A succession of military governments ended in 1972 with the rise to power of Mathieu KEREKOU and the establishment of a government based on Marxist-Leninist principles. A move to representative government began in 1989. Two years later, free elections ushered in former Prime Minister Nicephore SOGLO as president, marking the first successful transfer of power in Africa from a dictatorship to a democracy. KEREKOU was returned to power by elections held in 1996 and 2001, though some irregularities were alleged. KEREKOU stepped down at the end of his second term in 2006 and was succeeded by Thomas YAYI Boni, a political outsider and independent. YAYI, who won a second five-year term in March 2011, has attempted to stem corruption and has strongly promoted accelerating Benin's economic growth.
  • Geography :: BENIN

  • Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin, between Nigeria and Togo
    9 30 N, 2 15 E
    Africa
    total: 112,622 sq km
    land: 110,622 sq km
    water: 2,000 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 102
    slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
    total: 2,123 km
    border countries (4): Burkina Faso 386 km, Niger 277 km, Nigeria 809 km, Togo 651 km
    121 km
    territorial sea: 200 nm
    tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north
    mostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains
    mean elevation: 273 m
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    Mont Sokbaro 658 m
    small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber
    agricultural land: 31.3%
    arable land 22.9%; permanent crops 3.5%; permanent pasture 4.9%
    forest: 40%
    other: 28.7% (2011 est.)
    230 sq km (2012)
    26.39 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.13 cu km/yr (32%/23%/45%)
    per capita: 18.74 cu m/yr (2001)
    hot, dry, dusty harmattan wind may affect north from December to March
    inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    sandbanks create difficult access to a coast with no natural harbors, river mouths, or islands
  • People and Society :: BENIN

  • noun: Beninese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Beninese
    Fon and related 39.2%, Adja and related 15.2%, Yoruba and related 12.3%, Bariba and related 9.2%, Fulani and related 7%, Ottamari and related 6.1%, Yoa-Lokpa and related 4%, Dendi and related 2.5%, other 1.6%, unspecified 2.9% (2002 est.)
    French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)
    Catholic 27.1%, Muslim 24.4%, Vodoun 17.3%, Protestant 10.4% (Celestial 5%, Methodist 3.2%, other Protestant 2.2%), other traditional religions 6%, other Christian 5.3%, other 1.9%, none 6.5%, unspecified 1.1% (2002 est.)
    10,448,647
    note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    0-14 years: 43.42% (male 2,314,981/female 2,222,185)
    15-24 years: 20.19% (male 1,073,356/female 1,036,459)
    25-54 years: 30.04% (male 1,585,098/female 1,553,965)
    55-64 years: 3.53% (male 157,171/female 211,292)
    65 years and over: 2.82% (male 116,693/female 177,447) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 82%
    youth dependency ratio: 76.7%
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.3%
    potential support ratio: 19% (2015 est.)
    total: 17.9 years
    male: 17.5 years
    female: 18.3 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 216
    2.78% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    36.02 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    8.21 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    urban population: 44% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 3.67% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    PORTO-NOVO (capital) 268,000 (2014); COTONOU (seat of government) 682,000; Abomey-Calavi 757,000 (2015)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.74 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    20.3
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2011/12 est.)
    405 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    total: 55.68 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 58.8 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 52.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    total population: 61.47 years
    male: 60.11 years
    female: 62.9 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    4.95 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    12.9% (2011/12)
    4.6% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    0.06 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
    0.5 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    improved:
    urban: 85.2% of population
    rural: 72.1% of population
    total: 77.9% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 14.8% of population
    rural: 27.9% of population
    total: 22.1% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 35.6% of population
    rural: 7.3% of population
    total: 19.7% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 64.4% of population
    rural: 92.7% of population
    total: 80.3% of population (2015 est.)
    1.14% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    77,900 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    2,400 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    degree of risk: very high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever
    respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
    animal contact disease: rabies (2013)
    8.1% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    20.2% (2006)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    5.3% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 38.4%
    male: 49.9%
    female: 27.3% (2015 est.)
    total: 11 years
    male: 13 years
    female: 9 years (2011)
    total number: 1,020,981
    percentage: 46% (2006 est.)
    total: 2.4%
    male: 1.5%
    female: 3.1% (2010 est.)
  • Government :: BENIN

  • conventional long form: Republic of Benin
    conventional short form: Benin
    local long form: Republique du Benin
    local short form: Benin
    former: Dahomey
    etymology: named for the Bight of Benin, the body of water on which the country lies
    presidential republic
    name: Porto-Novo (official capital); note - Cotonou (seat of government)
    geographic coordinates: 6 29 N, 2 37 E
    time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    12 departments; Alibori, Atacora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Couffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou
    1 August 1960 (from France)
    National Day, 1 August (1960)
    previous 1946, 1958 (preindependence); latest adopted by referendum 2 December 1990, promulgated 11 December 1990 (2016)
    civil law system modeled largely on the French system and some customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Benin
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Patrice TALON (since 6 April 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Patrice TALON (since 6 April 2016); Prime Minister (vacant)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
    elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in two rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); last held on 6 March and 20 March 2016 (next to be held in 2021)
    election results: Patrice TALON elected president; first round percent of vote - Lionel ZINSOU (FCBE) 28.4%, Patrice TALON (independent) 24.8%, Sebastien AJAVON (independent) 23.0%, Abdoulaye Bio TCHANE (ABT) 8.8%, Pascal KOUPAKI (NC) 5.9%, other 9.1%; second round percent of vote - Patrice TALON (independent) 65.4%, Lionel ZINSOU (FCBE) 34.6%
    description: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (83 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 26 April 2015 (next to be held in April 2019)
    election results: percent of vote by party - FCBE 30.2%, UN 14.4%, PRD 10.6%, AND 7.6%, RB-RP 7.1%, other 30.1%; seats by party - FCBE 33, UN 13, PRD 10, AND 5, RB-RP 7, other 15
    highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of the court president and 3 chamber presidents organized into an administrative division, judicial chamber, and chamber of accounts); Constitutional Court or Cour Constitutionnelle (consists of 7 members including the court president); High Court of Justice (consists of the Constitutional Court members, 6 members appointed by the National Assembly, and the Supreme Court president); note - jurisdiction of the High Court of Justice is limited to cases of high treason by the national president or members of the government
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president and judges appointed by the national president upon the advice of the National Assembly; judges appointed for single renewable 5-year terms; Constitutional Court members - 4 appointed by the National Assembly and 3 by the national president; members appointed for single renewable 5-year terms; High Court of Justice "other" members elected by the National Assembly; member tenure NA
    subordinate courts: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; district courts; village courts; Assize courts
    Alliance for a Triumphant Benin or ABT [Abdoulaye BIO TCHANE]
    African Movement for Development and Progress or MADEP [Sefou FAGBOHOUN]
    Benin Renaissance or RB [Lehady SOGLO]
    Cowrie Force for an Emerging Benin or FCBE [Yayi BONI]
    Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI]
    New Consciousness Rally or NC [Pascal KOUPAKI]
    Patriotic Awakening or RP [Janvier YAHOUEDEOU]
    Social Democrat Party or PSD [Emmanuel GOLOU]
    Sun Alliance or AS [Sacca LAFIA]
    Union Makes the Nation or UN [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI] (alliance superceded Alliance for Dynamic Democracy or ADD)
    United Democratic Forces or FDU [Mathurin NAGO]
    note: approximately 20 additional minor parties
    other: economic groups; environmentalists; political groups; teachers' unions and other educational groups
    ACP, AfDB, AU, CD, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Omar AROUNA (since 21 May 2014)
    chancery: 2124 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 232-6656
    FAX: [1] (202) 265-1996
    chief of mission: Ambassador Lucy TAMLYN (since 8 November 2015)
    embassy: Caporal Bernard Anani, 01 BP 2012, Cotonou
    mailing address: 01 B. P. 2012, Cotonou
    telephone: [229] 21-30-06-50
    FAX: [229] 21-30-66-82
    two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and red (bottom) with a vertical green band on the hoist side; green symbolizes hope and revival, yellow wealth, and red courage
    note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia
    leopard; national colors: green, yellow, red
    name: "L'Aube Nouvelle" (The Dawn of a New Day)
    lyrics/music: Gilbert Jean DAGNON
    note: adopted 1960
  • Economy :: BENIN

  • The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. Cotton, a key export, suffered from flooding in 2010-11, but high prices supported export earnings. Growth in real output had averaged almost 4% before the global recession, and it has averaged 5.5% since 2012. Inflation has subsided over the past several years.
    An insufficient electrical supply continues to hamper Benin's economic growth though the government recently has taken steps to increase domestic power production. Private foreign direct investment is small, and foreign aid accounts for the majority of investment in infrastructure projects.
    In order to raise growth, Benin plans to attract more foreign investment, place more emphasis on tourism, facilitate the development of new food processing systems and agricultural products, and encourage new information and communication technology. Benin has appealed for international assistance to mitigate piracy against commercial shipping in its territory. The 2001 privatization policy continues in telecommunications, water, electricity, and agriculture. Projects to improve the business climate by reforms to the land tenure system, the commercial justice system, and the financial sector were included in Benin's $307 million Millennium Challenge Account grant signed in February 2006. In 2015, Benin signed a second Compact under the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
    $21.16 billion (2015 est.)
    $20.06 billion (2014 est.)
    $19.03 billion (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 142
    $7.701 billion (2015 est.)
    5.5% (2015 est.)
    5.4% (2014 est.)
    5.6% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    $2,000 (2015 est.)
    $1,900 (2014 est.)
    $1,800 (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 205
    13.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
    10.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    13.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    household consumption: 77.9%
    government consumption: 11.6%
    investment in fixed capital: 27.8%
    investment in inventories: 0.6%
    exports of goods and services: 20.1%
    imports of goods and services: -38%
    (2015 est.)
    agriculture: 36.3%
    industry: 13.5%
    services: 50.2% (2015 est.)
    cotton, corn, cassava (manioc, tapioca), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts, cashews; livestock
    textiles, food processing, construction materials, cement
    3.2% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    3.662 million (2007 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    NA%
    37.4% (2007 est.)
    lowest 10%: 3.1%
    highest 10%: 29% (2003)
    36.5 (2003)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    revenues: $1.762 billion
    expenditures: $1.895 billion (2015 est.)
    22.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    -1.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    35% of GDP (2015 est.)
    33.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    calendar year
    1.6% (2015 est.)
    -1.1% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    4.25% (31 December 2010)
    4.25% (31 December 2009)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    NA%
    $2.388 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $2.336 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    $4.165 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $3.61 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    $1.697 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $1.792 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 143
    $NA
    -$719 million (2015 est.)
    -$695 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    $2.047 billion (2015 est.)
    $2.147 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    cotton, cashews, shea butter, textiles, palm products, seafood
    China 27%, India 21.7%, Lebanon 8.4%, Niger 5%, Nigeria 4.5% (2014)
    $2.646 billion (2015 est.)
    $2.736 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    foodstuffs, capital goods, petroleum products
    China 30.2%, Algeria 25.1%, US 6.8%, India 4.6%, Thailand 4.4%, Malaysia 4.3% (2014)
    $808.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $726 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    $2.635 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $2.367 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
    580.5 (2015 est.)
    494.42 (2014 est.)
    494.42 (2013 est.)
    510.53 (2012 est.)
    471.87 (2011 est.)
  • Energy :: BENIN

  • 154 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    911 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    983 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    171,000 kW (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    99.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    0.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    8 million bbl (1 January 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    31,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    30,930 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    1.133 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    4.581 million Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
  • Communications :: BENIN

  • total subscriptions: 200,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    total: 10.8 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 106 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    general assessment: inadequate system of open-wire, microwave radio relay, and cellular connections; fixed-line network characterized by aging, deteriorating equipment
    domestic: fixed-line teledensity only about 2 per 100 persons; spurred by the presence of multiple mobile-cellular providers, cellular telephone subscribership has been increasing rapidly
    international: country code - 229; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and Asia; long distance fiber-optic links with Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Nigeria; satellite earth stations - 7 (Intelsat-Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
    state-run Office de Radiodiffusion et de Television du Benin (ORTB) operates a TV station with multiple channels providing a wide broadcast reach; several privately owned TV stations broadcast from Cotonou; satellite TV subscription service is available; state-owned radio, under ORTB control, includes a national station supplemented by a number of regional stations; substantial number of privately owned radio broadcast stations; transmissions of a few international broadcasters are available on FM in Cotonou (2007)
    AM 1, FM 34, shortwave 1 (2007)
    6 (2007)
    .bj
    491 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    total: 441,000
    percent of population: 4.3% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
  • Transportation :: BENIN

  • 6 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    total: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 5
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
    total: 438 km
    narrow gauge: 438 km 1.000-m gauge (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    total: 16,000 km
    paved: 1,400 km
    unpaved: 14,600 km (2006)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    150 km (seasonal navigation on River Niger along northern border) (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    major seaport(s): Cotonou
    LNG terminal(s) (import): Cotonou
  • Military and Security :: BENIN

  • Benin Armed Forces (Forces Armees Beninoises, FAB): Army (l'Arme de Terre), Benin Navy (Forces Navales Beninois, FNB), Benin Air Force (Force Aerienne du Benin, FAB) (2013)
    18-35 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service; a higher education diploma is required; both sexes are eligible for military service; conscript tour of duty - 18 months (2013)
    1.03% of GDP (2012)
    NA% (2011)
    1.03% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 99
  • Transnational Issues :: BENIN

  • talks continue between Benin and Togo on funding the Adjrala hydroelectric dam on the Mona River; Benin retains a border dispute with Burkina Faso near the town of Koualou; location of Benin-Niger-Nigeria tripoint is unresolved
    transshipment point used by traffickers for cocaine destined for Western Europe; vulnerable to money laundering due to poorly enforced financial regulations (2008)
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