Heavy rains flooded parts of West and Central Africa in the rainy season of 2010, and among the hardest-hit countries was Benin. The image, which shows the coast of Benin on 22 October 2010, uses a combination of infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between water and land. Water ranges in color from electric blue to navy. Vegetation appears bright green. Clouds range in color from off-white to pale blue-green. Photo courtesy of NASA.
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Present day Benin is comprised of about 42 ethnic groups, including the Yoruba in the southeast, who migrated from what is now Nigeria in the 12th century; the Dendi in the north-central area, who came from Mali in the 16th century; the Bariba and the Fula in the northeast; the Ottamari in the Atakora mountains; the Fon in the area around Abomey in the south-central area; and the Mina, Xueda, and Aja, who came from Togo, on the coast. The Kingdom of Dahomey emerged on the Abomey plateau in the 17th century and was a regional power for much of the 18th and 19th centuries. Dahomey had an organized domestic economy, international trade with Europeans, and a highly organized military. The growth of Dahomey coincided with the growth of the Atlantic slave trade, and it became known as a major source of enslaved people. France began to control the coastal areas of Dahomey 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, who won a second five-year term in March 2011. Patrice TALON, a wealthy businessman, took office in 2016; the space for pluralism, dissent, and free expression has narrowed under his administration. TALON won a second term in April 2021.

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Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin, between Nigeria and Togo


total: 112,622 sq km

land: 110,622 sq km

water: 2,000 sq km

country comparison to the world: 102

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Land boundaries

total: 2,123 km

border countries (4): Burkina Faso 386 km; Niger 277 km; Nigeria 809 km; Togo 651 km


121 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 200 nm; note: the US does not recognize this claim

continental shelf: 200 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north


mostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains


highest point: unnamed elevation 675 m; located 2.5 km southeast of the town of Kotopounga

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 273 m

Natural resources

small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber

Land use

agricultural land: 31.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 22.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3.5% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 4.9% (2018 est.)

forest: 40% (2018 est.)

other: 28.7% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

172 sq km (2017)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Niger (2,261,741 sq km), Volta (410,991 sq km)

Population distribution

the population is primarily located in the south, with the highest concentration of people residing in and around the cities on the Atlantic coast; most of the north remains sparsely populated with higher concentrations of residents in the west as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

hot, dry, dusty harmattan wind may affect north from December to March

Geography - note

sandbanks create difficult access to a coast with no natural harbors, river mouths, or islands

People and Society


noun: Beninese (singular and plural)

adjective: Beninese

Ethnic groups

Fon and related 38.4%, Adja and related 15.1%, Yoruba and related 12%, Bariba and related 9.6%, Fulani and related 8.6%, Ottamari and related 6.1%, Yoa-Lokpa and related 4.3%, Dendi and related 2.9%, other 0.9%, foreigner 1.9% (2013 est.)


55 languages; French (official); Fon (a Gbe language) and Yoruba are the most important indigenous languages in the south; half a dozen regionally important languages in the north, including Bariba (once counted as a Gur language) and Fulfulde


Muslim 27.7%, Roman Catholic 25.5%, Protestant 13.5% (Celestial 6.7%, Methodist 3.4%, other Protestant 3.4%), Vodoun 11.6%, other Christian 9.5%, other traditional religions 2.6%, other 2.6%, none 5.8% (2013 est.)

Demographic profile

Benin has a youthful age structure – almost 65% of the population is under the age of 25 as of 2022 – which is bolstered by high fertility and population growth rates. Benin’s total fertility has been falling over time but remains high, declining from almost 7 children per women in 1990 to 5.4 in 2022. Benin’s low contraceptive use and high unmet need for contraception contribute to the sustained high fertility rate. Although the majority of Beninese women use skilled health care personnel for antenatal care and delivery, the high rate of maternal mortality indicates the need for more access to high quality obstetric care.

Poverty, unemployment, increased living costs, and dwindling resources increasingly drive the Beninese to migrate. An estimated 4.4 million, more than 30%, of Beninese live abroad. Virtually all Beninese emigrants move to West African countries, particularly Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. Of the less than 1% of Beninese emigrants who settle in Europe, the vast majority live in France, Benin’s former colonial ruler.

With about 40% of the population living below the poverty line as of 2019, many desperate parents resort to sending their children to work in wealthy households as domestic servants (a common practice known as vidomegon), mines, quarries, or agriculture domestically or in Nigeria and other neighboring countries, often under brutal conditions. Unlike in other West African countries, where rural people move to the coast, farmers from Benin’s densely populated southern and northwestern regions move to the historically sparsely populated central region to pursue agriculture. Immigrants from West African countries came to Benin in increasing numbers between 1992 and 2002 because of its political stability and porous borders.

Age structure

0-14 years: 45.37% (male 3,256,439/female 3,194,700)

15-64 years: 52.18% (male 3,595,897/female 3,823,786)

65 years and over: 2.45% (2023 est.) (male 159,363/female 189,723)

2023 population pyramid
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 84

youth dependency ratio: 78.3

elderly dependency ratio: 5.7

potential support ratio: 17.7 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 17 years

male: 16.4 years

female: 17.6 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 218

Birth rate

40.72 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 3

Death rate

7.82 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 96

Net migration rate

0.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 76

Population distribution

the population is primarily located in the south, with the highest concentration of people residing in and around the cities on the Atlantic coast; most of the north remains sparsely populated with higher concentrations of residents in the west as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 50.1% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.74% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

285,000 PORTO-NOVO (capital) (2018); 1.253 million Abomey-Calavi, 722,000 COTONOU (seat of government) (2022)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.5 years (2017/18 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

523 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

Infant mortality rate

total: 54.33 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 59.28 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 49.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 15

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 62.6 years

male: 60.75 years

female: 64.55 years (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 213

Total fertility rate

5.39 children born/woman (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

Gross reproduction rate

2.63 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 79% of population

rural: 70.8% of population

total: 74.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 21% of population

rural: 29.2% of population

total: 25.3% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

2.6% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.07 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Hospital bed density

0.5 beds/1,000 population

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 56.3% of population

rural: 18.1% of population

total: 36.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 43.7% of population

rural: 81.9% of population

total: 63.4% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

note: on 22 March 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Benin is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 1.25 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.81 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.02 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.2 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.22 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 145

Tobacco use

total: 6.9% (2020 est.)

male: 11.8% (2020 est.)

female: 1.9% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 156

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 9.4%

women married by age 18: 30.6%

men married by age 18: 4.8% (2018 est.)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 45.8%

male: 56.9%

female: 35% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 12 years

female: 10 years (2020)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 3.9%

male: 3.1%

female: 4.6% (2021 est.)


Environment - current issues

inadequate supplies of potable water; water pollution; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification (the spread of the desert into agricultural lands in the north is accelerated by regular droughts)

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north

Land use

agricultural land: 31.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 22.9% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3.5% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 4.9% (2018 est.)

forest: 40% (2018 est.)

other: 28.7% (2018 est.)


urban population: 50.1% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.74% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 33.11 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 6.48 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 5.8 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 685,936 tons (1993 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 171,484 tons (2005 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 25% (2005 est.)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Niger (2,261,741 sq km), Volta (410,991 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 150 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 30 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 60 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

26.39 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Benin

conventional short form: Benin

local long form: Republique du Benin

local short form: Benin

former: Dahomey, People's Republic of Benin

etymology: named for the Bight of Benin, the body of water on which the country lies

Government type

presidential republic


name: Porto-Novo (constitutional capital); 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)

etymology: the name Porto-Novo is Portuguese for "new port"; Cotonou means "by the river of death" in the native Fon language

Administrative divisions

12 departments; Alibori, Atacora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Couffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou


1 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 1 August (1960)


history: previous 1946, 1958 (preindependence); latest adopted by referendum 2 December 1990, promulgated 11 December 1990

amendments: proposed concurrently by the president of the republic (after a decision in the Council of Ministers) and the National Assembly; consideration of drafts or proposals requires at least three-fourths majority vote of the Assembly membership; passage requires approval in a referendum unless approved by at least four-fifths majority vote of the Assembly membership; constitutional articles affecting territorial sovereignty, the republican form of government, and secularity of Benin cannot be amended; amended 2019

Legal system

civil law system modeled largely on the French system and some customary law

International law organization participation

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

Executive branch

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 position abolished

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); last held on 11 April 2021 (next to be held in April 2026)

election results: Patrice TALON elected to a second term; percent of vote - Patrice TALON (independent) 86.4%, Alassane SOUMANOU (FCBE) 11.3%, other 2.3% (2021)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (109 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 8 January 2023 (next to be held January 2027)

election results: percent of vote by party - Progressive Union for Renewal 37.5%, Bloc Republicain 29.3%, The Democrats 24.6%; seats by party - Progressive Union for Renewal 53, Bloc Republicain 28, The Democrats 28; composition as of January 2023 - men 81, women 28, percent of women 25.6%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of the chief justice and 16 justices 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 while in office

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president and judges appointed by the president of the republic 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 president of the republic; members appointed for single renewable 5-year terms; other members of the High Court of Justice elected by the National Assembly; member tenure NA

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; district courts; village courts; Assize courts

Political parties and leaders

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]
National Alliance for Development and Democracy or AND [Valentin Aditi HOUDE]
New Consciousness Rally or NC [Pascal KOUPAKI]
Patriotic Awakening or RP [Janvier YAHOUEDEOU]
Progressive Union for Renewal [Joseph DJOGBENOU]
Republican Bloc [Abdoulaye BIO TCHANE]
Social Democrat Party or PSD [Emmanuel GOLOU]
Sun Alliance or AS [Sacca LAFIA]
The Democrats [Eric HOUNDETE]
Union Makes the Nation or UN [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI] (includes PRD, MADEP)
United Democratic Forces or FDU [Mathurin NAGO]

note: approximately 20 additional minor parties

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jean Claude Felix DO REGO (since 17 July 2020)

chancery: 2124 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 232-6656; [1] (202) 232-2611

FAX: [1] (202) 265-1996

email address and website:


Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Brian SHUKAN (since 5 May 2022)

embassy: 01 BP 2012, Cotonou

mailing address:

2120 Cotonou Place, Washington DC  20521-2120

telephone: [229] 21-30-06-50

FAX: [229] 21-30-03-84

email address and website:


Flag description

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

National symbol(s)

leopard; national colors: green, yellow, red

National anthem

name: "L'Aube Nouvelle" (The Dawn of a New Day)

lyrics/music: Gilbert Jean DAGNON

note: adopted 1960

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 2 (1 cultural, 1 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Royal Palaces of Abomey (c); W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (n)


Economic overview

robust economic growth; slightly declining but still widespread poverty; strong trade relations with Nigeria; cotton exporter; COVID-19 has led to capital outflows and border closures; WAEMU member with currency pegged to the euro; recent fiscal deficit and debt reductions

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$43.17 billion (2021 est.)

$40.287 billion (2020 est.)

$38.794 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 118

Real GDP growth rate

7.16% (2021 est.)

3.85% (2020 est.)

6.87% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 53

Real GDP per capita

$3,300 (2021 est.)

$3,200 (2020 est.)

$3,200 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 192

GDP (official exchange rate)

$10.315 billion (2018 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.73% (2021 est.)

3.02% (2020 est.)

-0.71% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 58

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2019)

Moody's rating: B2 (2019)

Standard & Poors rating: B+ (2018)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 26.1% (2017 est.)

industry: 22.8% (2017 est.)

services: 51.1% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 70.5% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 13.1% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 27.6% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 31.6% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -43% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

cassava, yams, maize, cotton, oil palm fruit, rice, pineapples, tomatoes, vegetables, soybeans


textiles, food processing, construction materials, cement

Unemployment rate

1.57% (2021 est.)

1.58% (2020 est.)

1.47% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 11

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.1%

highest 10%: 29% (2003)


revenues: $2.024 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $2.101 billion (2019 est.)

Public debt

54.6% of GDP (2017 est.)

49.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 89

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$273.967 million (2020 est.)

-$575.593 million (2019 est.)

-$648.825 million (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 103


$3.506 billion (2020 est.)

$3.585 billion (2019 est.)

$3.848 billion (2018 est.)

note: Data are in current year dollars and do not include illicit exports or re-exports.

country comparison to the world: 140

Exports - partners

Nigeria 25%, Bangladesh 14%, United Arab Emirates 14%, India 13%, China 8%, Vietnam 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

gold, cotton, cashews, refined petroleum, soybeans (2021)


$3.942 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$4.307 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$4.669 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 152

Imports - partners

China 28%, Thailand 9%, India 8%, Togo 6%, United States 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

rice, cars, palm oil, electricity, cotton (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$698.9 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$57.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 159

Debt - external

$2.804 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$2.476 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144

Exchange rates

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -

554.608 (2021 est.)

574.295 (2020 est.)

585.951 (2019 est.)

555.446 (2018 est.)

580.657 (2017 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 33% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 58% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 9% (2019)


installed generating capacity: 475,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 524.08 million kWh (2020 est.)

exports: 2 million kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 646 million kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 346 million kWh (2020 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 96.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 3.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 78,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 78,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 46,300 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 8 million barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 19.057 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 19.057 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 1.133 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

6.903 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 274,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 6.592 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 37,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 126


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 11,493 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: (2021 est.) less than 1

country comparison to the world: 187

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 12,731,782 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 98 (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 78

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Benin’s telecom market continues to be restricted by the poor condition of the country’s fixed-line infrastructure; this has hampered the development of fixed-line voice and internet services, and there is negligible revenue derived from these sectors; mobile networks account for almost all internet connections, and also carry most voice traffic; there is promise for considerable change in the mobile sector; slow progress is being made in developing competition in the mobile sector; in May 2021 the government sought foreign companies to bid for a fourth mobile license; improved international internet connectivity has contributed to a reduction in end-user pricing, and provided the potential to transform many areas of the country’s economy, bringing a greater proportion of the population into the orbit of internet commerce and connectivity; a 2,000km fiber project started in 2016 was finally completed in mid-2021, prompting the government to secure a loan to build additional fiber infrastructure connecting four of the country’s 12 departments (2022)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity less than 1 per 100 people; mobile cellular subscriptions are 98 per 100 people (2021)

international: country code - 229; landing points for the SAT-3/WASC and ACE fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe, and most West African countries; satellite earth stations - 7 (Intelsat-Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

state-run Office de Radiodiffusion et de Television du Benin (ORTB) operates a TV station 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 (2019)

Internet users

total: 4.42 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 34% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 103

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 29,981 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.3 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 155


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2015)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1 (2015)

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 112,392 (2015)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 805,347 (2015) mt-km

Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)

Airports - with unpaved runways


note: unpaved runways have a surface composition such as grass or packed earth and are most suited to the operation of light aircraft; unpaved runways are usually short, often less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) in length; airports with unpaved runways often lack facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control


134 km gas


total: 438 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 438 km (2014) 1.000-m gauge

country comparison to the world: 115


total: 16,000 km (2006)

paved: 1,400 km (2006)

unpaved: 14,600 km (2006)

country comparison to the world: 120


150 km (2011) (seasonal navigation on River Niger along northern border)

country comparison to the world: 111

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Cotonou

LNG terminal(s) (import): Cotonou

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Beninese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Beninoises, FAB; aka Benin Defense Forces): Army, Navy, Air Force; Ministry of Interior and Public Security: Republican Police (Police Republicaine, DGPR) (2023)

note: FAB is under the Ministry of Defense and is responsible for external security and supporting the DGPR in maintaining internal security, which has primary responsibility for enforcing law and maintaining order 

Military expenditures

0.7% of GDP (2022 est.)

0.7% of GDP (2021 est.)

0.5% of GDP (2020 est.)

0.5% of GDP (2019 est.)

0.7% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 142

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 7,000 active-duty troops; estimated 5,000 Republican Police (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FAB is equipped with a small mix of mostly older or secondhand French, Soviet-era, and US equipment (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-35 years of age for voluntary and selective compulsory military service for men and women; a higher education diploma is required; conscript service is 18 months (2023)

Military deployments

260 (plus about 160 police) Mali (MINUSMA) (May 2022)

Military - note

a key focus for the security forces of Benin is countering infiltrations into the country by terrorist groups tied to al-Qa'ida and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) operating just over the border from north Benin in Burkina Faso and Niger; in May 2022, the Benin Government said it was "at war" after suffering a series of attacks from these groups; later that same year, President TALON said his government would spend more than $130 million to recruit up to 4,000 additional military personnel, modernize military equipment, and build and fortify operating bases; in addition, the FAB participates in the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) along with Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria against Boko Haram and other terrorist groups operating in the general area of the Lake Chad Basin and along Nigeria's northeast border

the FAB has a close working relationship with the Belgian armed forces; the Belgians offer military advice, training, and second-hand equipment donations, and deploy to Benin for limited military exercises (2023)

Maritime threats

the International Maritime Bureau reported no incidents in 2022 in the waters off Benin; past incidents have been reported where vessels were attacked and crews kidnapped; these incidents showed that the pirates / robbers in the area are well armed and violent; pirates have robbed vessels and kidnapped crews for ransom; in the past, product tankers were hijacked and cargo stolen; the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation has issued a Maritime Advisory (2023-001 - Gulf of Guinea-Piracy/Armed Robbery/Kidnapping for Ransom) effective 3 January 2023, which states in part, "Piracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping for ransom continue to serve as significant threats to US-flagged vessels transiting or operating in the Gulf of Guinea"


Terrorist group(s)

al-Qa’ida (Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimeen); Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS); Boko Haram

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Benin-Burkina Faso: Benin retains a border dispute with Burkina Faso near the town of Koualau/Kourou.

Talks continue between Benin and Togo on funding the Adjarala hydroelectric dam on the Mona River.

Benin-Niger: The location of Benin-Niger-Nigeria tripoint is unresolved.

Illicit drugs

a significant transit and departure country for cocaine shipments in Africa destined for Europe