Fun facts, figures, lots of information on Benin
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
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
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
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
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.)
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.)
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)
definition: age 15 and over that can read and write total population: 41 percent male: 56 percent female: 26 percent (2000)
Republic of Benin Republique du Benin
(formerly called Dahomey )
Capital city: Porto-Novo is the official capital; Cotonou is government HQ
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.
All citizens eligible to vote from the age of 18 years
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.)
incomes: $USD378 million spending: $USD562 million, (2001)
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)
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:
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:
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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