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Benin

 
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Coordinates:
09.50 N  02.25 E

 
 
Introduction  Geography  People  Government  Economy
 
Communications  Transportation  Military  Transnational Issues

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Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Benin Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
Present day Benin was the site of Dahomey, a prominent West African kingdom that rose in the 15th century. The territory became a French Colony in 1872 and achieved independence on 1 August 1960, as the Republic of Benin. 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.
   Geography    Benin Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin, between Nigeria and Togo
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
9 30 N, 2 15 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Africa
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 112,620 sq km
land: 110,620 sq km
water: 2,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,989 km
border countries: Burkina Faso 306 km, Niger 266 km, Nigeria 773 km, Togo 644 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
121 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 200 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
mostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Sokbaro 658 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 23.53%
permanent crops: 2.37%
other: 74.1% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
120 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
hot, dry, dusty harmattan wind may affect north from December to March
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
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
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
sandbanks create difficult access to a coast with no natural harbors, river mouths, or islands
   People    Benin Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7,862,944
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 44.1% (male 1,751,709/female 1,719,138)
15-64 years: 53.5% (male 2,067,248/female 2,138,957)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 75,694/female 110,198) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 17.6 years
male: 17.2 years
female: 18 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.73% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
38.85 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.22 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.67 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 79.56 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 84.09 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 74.88 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 53.04 years
male: 51.9 years
female: 54.22 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.2 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.9% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
68,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5,800 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria, yellow fever, and others are high risks in some locations
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis (2005)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Beninese (singular and plural)
adjective: Beninese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
African 99% (42 ethnic groups, most important being Fon, Adja, Yoruba, Bariba), Europeans 5,500
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
indigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 20%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 33.6%
male: 46.4%
female: 22.6% (2002 est.)
   Government    Benin Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Benin
conventional short form: Benin
local long form: Republique du Benin
local short form: Benin
former: Dahomey
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
republic under multiparty democratic rule; dropped Marxism-Leninism December 1989
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Porto-Novo is the official capital; Cotonou is the seat of government
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
12 departments; Alibori, Atakora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Kouffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
1 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
National Day, 1 August (1960)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
December 1990
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on French civil law and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Yayi BONI (since 6 April 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Yayi BONI (since 6 April 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president reelected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); runoff election held 19 March 2006 (next to be held March 2011)
election results: Yayi BONI elected president; percent of vote - Yayi BONI 74.5%, Adrien HOUNGBEDJI 25.5%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (83 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 30 March 2003 (next to be held March 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Presidential Movement (UBF, MADEP, FC, Alliance MDC-PC-CPP, IPD, AFP, MDS, RDP) 52, opposition (PRB, PRD, E'toile, and 5 other small parties) 31
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Constitutional Court or Cour Constitutionnelle; Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; High Court of Justice
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Alliance of Progress Forces or AFP; African Movement for Democracy and Progress or MADEP [Sefou FAGBOHOUN]; Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI]; Impulse for Progress and Democracy or IPD; Key Force or FC; Movement for Development and Solidarity or MDS; Movement for Development by the Culture-Salute Party-Congress of People for Progress Alliance or Alliance MDC-PS-CPP; New Alliance or NA; Rally for Democracy and Progress or RDP; Renaissance Party du Benin or RB [Nicephore SOGLO]; The Star Alliance (Alliance E'toile) [Sacca LAFIA]; Union of Tomorrow's Benin or UBF [Bruno AMOUSSOU]
note: approximately 20 additional minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAM, OIC, OIF, ONUB, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
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
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Wayne NEILL
embassy: Rue Caporal Bernard Anani, Cotonou
mailing address: 01 B. P. 2012, Cotonou
telephone: [229] 30-06-50
FAX: [229] 30-06-70
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and red (bottom) with a vertical green band on the hoist side
   Economy    Benin Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. Growth in real output has averaged around 5% in the past six years, but rapid population growth has offset much of this increase. Inflation has subsided over the past several years. In order to raise growth still further, 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. Many of these proposals are included in Benin's application to receive Millennium Challenge Account funding - for which it was a finalist in 2004-05. The 2001 privatization policy continues in telecommunications, water, electricity, and agriculture in spite of government reluctance. The Paris Club and bilateral creditors have eased the external debt situation, with Benin benefiting from a G8 debt reduction announced in July 2005, while pressing for more rapid structural reforms. Benin continues to be hurt by Nigerian trade protection that bans imports of a growing list of products from Benin and elsewhere, which has resulted in increased smuggling and criminality in the border region.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$8.553 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$4.34 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.5% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1,100 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 31.6%
industry: 13.8%
services: 54.6% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA%
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
33% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.5% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
19.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $766.8 million
expenditures: $1.017 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
cotton, corn, cassava (tapioca), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts; livestock
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
textiles, food processing, construction materials, cement
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.3% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
69 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
538.2 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
474 million kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
400 bbl/day (2003)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.105 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.218 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-$400 million (2005 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$826.9 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
cotton, crude oil, palm products, cocoa
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
China 31.6%, India 19.4%, Ghana 6.6%, Niger 6.2%, Indonesia 4.4%, Nigeria 4.4% (2005)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.043 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
foodstuffs, capital goods, petroleum products
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
China 39.1%, France 8.7%, Thailand 7.1%, Cote d'Ivoire 6.1% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$676 million (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.6 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$342.6 million (2000)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003), 696.99 (2002), 733.04 (2001)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Benin Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
72,800 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
75,100 (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: NA
domestic: fair system of open-wire, microwave radio relay, and cellular connections
international: country code - 229; satellite earth station - 7 (Intelsat-Atlantic Ocean); fiber optic submarine cable (SAT-3/WASC) provides connectivity to Europe and Asia
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 4 (2000)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 (2001)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.bj
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
814 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
100,000 (2005)
   Transportation    Benin Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2005)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2005)
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 578 km
narrow gauge: 578 km 1.000-m gauge (2004)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 6,787 km
paved: 1,357 km
unpaved: 5,430 km (1999)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
150 km (on River Niger along northern border) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Cotonou
   Military    Benin Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Navy, Air Force
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
21 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; in practice, volunteers may be taken at the age of 18; both sexes are eligible for military service; conscript tour of duty - 18 months (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 21-49: 1,295,230
females age 21-49: 1,301,936 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 21-49: 749,774
females age 21-49: 751,329 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 76,661
females: 75,068 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$100.9 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.3% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Benin Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Benin and Burkina Faso military clash in 2006 over sections of riverine boundary involving disputed villages and squatters; much of Benin-Niger boundary, including tripoint with Nigeria, remains undemarcated; in 2005, Nigeria ceded thirteen villages to Benin as a consequence of a 2004 joint task force to resolve maritime and land boundary disputes, but clashes among rival gangs along the border persist; a joint boundary commission continues to resurvey the boundary with Togo to verify Benin's claim that Togo moved boundary stones
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
transshipment point for narcotics associated with Nigerian trafficking organizations and most commonly destined for Western Europe and the US; vulnerable to money laundering due to a poorly regulated financial infrastructure

This page was last updated on 20 July, 2006


Source: CIA Factbook