Fun facts, figures, lots of information on Benin

General Overview:

General Information on Benin
Benin was formerly Dahomey, a West African kingdom that was prominent in the 15th century.

It became a French Colony in 1872 and gaining independence in 1960, becoming the Republic of Benin. Military rule ended in 1972 with the establishment of a Marxist-Leninist government.

Free elections took place in 1991 and Benin has had a democratic government since.

Geographical Information on Benin

Geographical Position: Western Africa, on the Bight of Benin, between the nations of Nigeria and its other neighbour Togo.

Map Ref Latitude & Longitude 9 30 North, 2 15 East

Total Land & Sea Area Total: 112,600 square kms Sea Area2,100 square kms land area: 110,600 square kms

Land boundaries: Total: 1,990 kms Border countries: Burkina Faso 310 kms, Niger 265 kms, Nigeria 770 kms, Togo 650 kms Coastal Length: 120 kms

territorial sea: 200 NM

Climatological Conditions:

tropical weather conditions; humid and hot in southern regions; semiarid and dry in regions of the north. The terrain of the country is mostly flat, rolling plain; hilly in some areas with low mountains.

Highest & Lowest Elevations: Lowest elevation: Atlantic Ocean at mean sea level highest point: Mount Sokbaro 660 meters

Natural resources: small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber Land use: arable land area: 15.3 percent permanent crops: 1.35 percent other: 83.3 percent (1998 estimate.) Irrigated land area: 125 square kms (1998 estimate.)

Natural hazards: Dry, hot, dusty ‘harmattan’ wind in northern regions from the months of December to the month of March.

People information on Benin

Population information on Benin: 7,041,500 Age structure: Under 15: 47 percent From 15 to 65: 51 percent Over 65: 2 percent Median age: Total: 16 years male: 16 years female: 17 years (2002) Population growth rate: 3 percent (2003 estimate.) Birth rate: 43 births/1,000 population (2003 estimate.) Death rate: 13.7 deaths/1,000 population (2003 estimate.) Net migration rate: 0 migrant /1,000 population (2003 estimate.)

infant mortality rate: Total: 87 deaths/1,000 live births female: 81.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 estimate.) male: 91.8 deaths/1,000 live births Life expectancy at birth: total population: 51 years male: 50.3 years female: 51.85 years (2003 estimate.) Total fertility rate: 6.05 children born/woman (2003 estimate.)

Nationality: Beninese

Ethnic groups: African 99 percent (42 ethnic groups, most important being Fon, Adja, Yoruba, Bariba), Europeans less than 1 percent

Religions: Indigenous religious beliefs 50 percent, Christian religions 28 percent, Islam 22 percent

Languages: French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common languages in the southern areas), tribal languages (over six major languages in northern areas)

Literacy: definition: age 15 and over that can read and write total population: 41 percent male: 56 percent female: 26 percent (2000)

Government Benin

Republic of Benin Republique du Benin (formerly called Dahomey )

Government type: Republic

Capital city: Porto-Novo is the official capital; Cotonou is government HQ

Independence: 1 August 1960 from France National holiday: National Day, 1 August 1960 Constitution: December 1990 Legal system: based on French civil law and customary law.

Suffrage: All citizens eligible to vote from the age of 18 years

Executive branch: Head of State: President who is both the Head of State and head of government

Economy information on Benin:

Economy - overview: Benin’s economy is underdeveloped and based on agriculture and cotton. Some sectors like water electricity telcommunications or agriculture have been undergoing a tough and severe policy of privatisation.

There has been some easing in borrowings after some debt relief by creditor nations.

GDP - Gross Domestic Product: - $USD7.38 billion (2002 estimate.) GDP - Gross Domestic Product - growth rate: 6 percent (2002 estimate.) GDP - Gross Domestic Product - per capita: - $USD1,100 (2002 estimate.) GDP - Gross Domestic Product - composition by sector: agriculture: 35 percent industry: 15 percent services: 50 percent (2002 estimate.) Population below poverty line: 37 percent (2001 estimate.) Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.5 percent (2002 estimate.)

Budget: incomes: $USD378 million spending: $USD562 million, (2001)

Industries: textiles, apparel, clothing, food processing, chemical production, construction materials (2001)

Agriculture - products:

cotton, corn, cassava (tapioca), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts, livestock (2001) Exports: $USD207 million (2002)

Exports - commodities: cotton, crude oil, palm products, cocoa Exports - partners: India 25 percent, Italy 11 percent, Indonesia 7.5 percent, China 7.5 percent, Thailand 7 percent, Brazil 6 percent, UK 4.5 percent, Niger 4 percent (2002) Imports: $USD480 million c.i.f. (2002)

Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, capital goods, petroleum products Imports - partners: China 31.5 percent, France 16 percent, UK 5 percent, Italy 4 percent (2002) Debt - external: $USD1.5 billion (2000)

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF)

Communications Benin:

Telephones: 51,000 (2000) Radio broadcast stations: Amplitude Modulation 2, Frequency Modulation 9, SW 4 (2000) Television stations: 1; (2001) Internet country code: .bj

Travel to/in Benin:

Railroad networks: Total: 580 kms narrow gauge: 580 kms 1.000-m gauge (2002) Roading System: Total: 6,800 kms Airports: 5 (2002)

Military Benin:

Military branches: Armed Forces (including Army, Navy, Air Force), National Gendarmerie Military spending: $USD81 million (Fiscal Year 02) Military spending: - percent of GDP - Gross Domestic Product: 3 percent (Fiscal Year 02)

International Issues Benin Disputes - international: Border disputes with Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Togo.

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Information sourced and adapted from the CIA Factbook

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