Africa :: 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 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

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%, Peulh and related 7%, Ottamari and related 6.1%, Yoa-Lokpa and related 4%, Dendi and related 2.5%, other 1.6% (includes Europeans), unspecified 2.9% (2002 census)
    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 Christian 5.3%, other 15.5% (2002 census)
    9,877,292 (July 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    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
    0-14 years: 44.1% (male 2,223,497/female 2,134,644)
    15-24 years: 19.9% (male 1,001,845/female 967,664)
    25-54 years: 29.7% (male 1,476,894/female 1,456,501)
    55-64 years: 3.5% (male 143,594/female 200,424)
    65 years and over: 2.8% (male 109,009/female 163,220) (2013 est.)
    total dependency ratio: 84 %
    youth dependency ratio: 78.7 %
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.3 %
    potential support ratio: 18.8 (2013)
    total: 17.6 years
    male: 17.2 years
    female: 18 years (2013 est.)
    2.84% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    37.02 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    8.59 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    urban population: 44.9% of total population (2011)
    rate of urbanization: 4.12% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    COTONOU (seat of government) 924,000; PORTO-NOVO (capital) 314,000 (2011)
    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: 1.01 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.71 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
    20 (2006 est.)
    350 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    total: 58.54 deaths/1,000 live births
    country comparison to the world: 27
    male: 61.76 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 55.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total population: 60.67 years
    country comparison to the world: 191
    male: 59.37 years
    female: 62.04 years (2013 est.)
    5.13 children born/woman (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    12.9% (2012)
    4.1% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    0.06 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
    0.5 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    urban: 84% of population
    rural: 68% of population
    total: 75% of population
    urban: 16% of population
    rural: 32% of population
    total: 25% of population (2010 est.)
    urban: 25% of population
    rural: 5% of population
    total: 13% of population
    urban: 75% of population
    rural: 95% of population
    total: 87% of population (2010 est.)
    1.2% (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    60,000 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    2,700 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    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)
    6% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    20.2% (2006)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    5.4% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 42.4%
    male: 55.2%
    female: 30.3% (2010 census)
    total: 9 years
    male: 11 years
    female: 8 years (2005)
    total number: 1,020,981
    percentage: 46 % (2006 est.)
    total: 0.8%
    country comparison to the world: 143
    male: 1.1%
    female: 0.6% (2002)

Government ::Benin

    conventional long form: Republic of Benin
    conventional short form: Benin
    local long form: Republique du Benin
    local short form: Benin
    former: Dahomey
    name: Porto-Novo (official capital)
    geographic coordinates: 6 29 N, 2 37 E
    time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    note: Cotonou (seat of government)
    12 departments; Alibori, Atakora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Kouffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou
    1 August 1960 (from France)
    National Day, 1 August (1960)
    adopted by referendum 2 December 1990
    civil law system modeled largely on the French system and some customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Thomas BONI YAYI (since 6 April 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Thomas BONI YAYI (since 6 April 2006); Prime Minister Pascal KOUPAKI (since 28 May 2011)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); last held on 13 March 2011 (next to be held in March 2016)
    election results: Thomas YAYI Boni re-elected president; percent of vote - Thomas YAYI Boni 53.1%, Adrien HOUNGBEDJI 35.6%, Abdoulaye Bio TCHANE 6.1%, other 5.2%
    unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (83 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held on 30 April 2011 (next to be held in 2015)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FCBE 41, UN 30, other 12
    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 to limited 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
    African Movement for Democracy and Progress or MADEP [Sefou FAGBOHOUN]; Alliance for Dynamic Democracy or ADD; Alliance of Progress Forces or AFP; Benin Renaissance or RB [Rosine SOGLO]; Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI]; Force Cowrie for an Emerging Benin or FCBE; Impulse for Progress and Democracy or IPD [Theophile NATA]; Key Force or FC [Lazare SÈHOUÉTO]; Movement for the People's Alternative or MAP [Olivier CAPO-CHICHI]; Rally for Democracy and Progress or PRD [Dominique HOUNGNINOU]; Social Democrat Party or PSD [Bruno AMOUSSOU]; Union for Democracy and National Solidarity or UDS [Sacca LAFIA]; Union for the Relief or UPR [Issa SALIFOU]; Union Makes the Nation or UN
    note: approximately 20 additional minor parties
    other: economic groups; environmentalists; political groups; teachers' unions and other educational groups
    chief of mission: Ambassador Cyrille Segbe OGUIN
    chancery: 2124 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 232-6656
    FAX: [1] (202) 265-1996
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Susan TULLER
    embassy: Rue Caporal Bernard Anani, 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
    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. Growth in real output had averaged almost 4% before the global recession and it has returned to roughly that level in 2011-12. Inflation has subsided over the past several years. 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. Specific 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. The 2001 privatization policy continues in telecommunications, water, electricity, and agriculture. The Paris Club and bilateral creditors have eased the external debt situation with Benin benefiting from a G-8 debt reduction announced in July 2005, while pressing for more rapid structural reforms. An insufficient electrical supply continues to adversely affect 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. Cotton, a key export, suffered from flooding in 2010-11, but high prices supported export earnings. The government agreed to a 25% increase in civil servant salaries in 2011, following a series of strikes, increasing pressure on the national budget. Benin has appealed for international assistance to mitigate piracy against commercial shipping in its territory.
    $15.84 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    $15.26 billion (2011 est.)
    $14.74 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $7.429 billion (2012 est.)
    3.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    3.5% (2011 est.)
    2.6% (2010 est.)
    $1,700 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    $1,700 (2011 est.)
    $1,700 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    13.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    12.9% of GDP (2011 est.)
    13.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 79.9%
    government consumption: 10.5%
    investment in fixed capital: 22.6%
    investment in inventories: 0.6%
    exports of goods and services: 19.4%
    imports of goods and services: -33%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 35.9%
    industry: 6.4%
    services: 57.7% (2012 est.)
    cotton, corn, cassava (manioc), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts, cashews; livestock
    textiles, food processing, construction materials, cement
    3.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    3.662 million (2007 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 96
    37.4% (2007 est.)
    lowest 10%: 3.1%
    highest 10%: 29% (2003)
    36.5 (2003)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    revenues: $1.407 billion
    expenditures: $1.671 billion (2012 est.)
    18.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    -3.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    28.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    29.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    6.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    2.7% (2011 est.)
    4.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    4.25% (31 December 2009 est.)
    $1.903 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    $1.715 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $2.95 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    $2.716 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.63 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    $1.475 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    -$625.3 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    -$699.9 million (2011 est.)
    $1.55 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    $1.593 billion (2011 est.)
    cotton, cashews, shea butter, textiles, palm products, seafood
    China 25.4%, India 24.6%, Lebanon 15.6%, Niger 4.8%, Nigeria 4.2% (2012)
    $2.152 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    $2.188 billion (2011 est.)
    foodstuffs, capital goods, petroleum products
    China 37.2%, US 8.9%, India 6.7%, France 5.6%, Malaysia 5.3% (2012)
    $859.4 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    $887.4 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.403 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    $1.327 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
    510.53 (2012 est.)
    471.87 (2011 est.)
    495.28 (2010 est.)
    472.19 (2009)
    447.81 (2008)

Energy ::Benin

Communications ::Benin

    152,700 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    7.765 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    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 giving it 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)
    491 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    200,100 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 139

Transportation ::Benin

Military ::Benin

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 around 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)