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  Geography
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Map of Benin

DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Benin
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.

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   Geography    Benin
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: 18.08%
permanent crops: 2.4%
other: 79.52% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
120 sq km (1998 est.)
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

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   People    Benin
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7,250,033
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 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 46.8% (male 1,711,075; female 1,679,439)
15-64 years: 51% (male 1,802,990; female 1,890,915)
65 years and over: 2.3% (male 68,890; female 96,724) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 16.5 years
male: 16 years
female: 16.9 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.89% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
42.57 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13.69 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 85.88 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 90.89 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 80.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 50.81 years
male: 50.25 years
female: 51.39 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.95 children born/woman (2004 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.)
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: 40.9%
male: 56.2%
female: 26.5% (2000)

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   Government    Benin
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; democratic reforms adopted February 1990; transition to multiparty system completed 4 April 1991
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 Mathieu KEREKOU (since 4 April 1996); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Mathieu KEREKOU (since 4 April 1996); 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; runoff election held 22 March 2001 (next to be held NA March 2006)
election results: Mathieu KEREKOU reelected president; percent of vote - Mathieu KEREKOU 84.1%, Bruno AMOUSSOU 15.9%
note: the four top-ranking contenders following the first-round presidential elections were: Mathieu KEREKOU (incumbent) 45.4%, Nicephore SOGOLO (former president) 27.1%, Adrien HOUNGBEDJI (National Assembly Speaker) 12.6%, and Bruno AMOUSSOU (Minister of State) 8.6%; the second-round balloting, originally scheduled for 18 March 2001, was postponed four days because both SOGOLO and HOUNGBEDJI withdrew alleging electoral fraud; this left KEREKOU to run against his own Minister of State, AMOUSSOU, in what was termed a "friendly match"
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 NA March 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Presidential Movement 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
African Congress for Renewal or DUNYA [Saka SALEY]; African Movement for Democracy and Progress or MADEP [Sefou FAGBOHOUN]; Alliance of the Social Democratic Party or PSD [Bruno AMOUSSOU]; Coalition of Democratic Forces [Gatien HOUNGBEDJI]; Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI]; Front for Renewal and Development or FARD-ALAFIA [Jerome Sakia KINA]; Impulse for Progress and Democracy or IPD [Bertin BORNA]; Key Force or FC [leader NA]; Presidential Movement (UBF, MADEP, FC, IDP, and 4 other small parties); Renaissance Party du Benin or PRB [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, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MICAH, MONUC, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMIL, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
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 with a vertical green band on the hoist side

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   Economy    Benin
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 a stable 5% in the past six years, but rapid population rise 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. The 2001 privatization policy should continue in telecommunications, water, electricity, and agriculture in spite of initial government reluctance. The Paris Club and bilateral creditors have eased the external debt situation, while pressing for speeded-up structural reforms.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $7.742 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.5% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $1,100 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 36.4%
industry: 14.5%
services: 49.1% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
19.3% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
37% (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
1.5% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (1996)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $698.9 million
expenditures: $613.2 million, including capital expenditures of NA (2003)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
cotton, corn, cassava (tapioca), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts, livestock (2001)
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
textiles, food processing, chemical production, construction materials (2001)
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.3% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
274.3 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
631.1 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
376 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
700 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11,500 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.105 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
608.8 million cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-112 million (2003)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$485 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
cotton, crude oil, palm products, cocoa
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
China 18.4%, India 15.7%, Nigeria 11.9%, Thailand 5.9%, Ghana 5%, Pakistan 5% (2003 est.)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$726 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
foodstuffs, capital goods, petroleum products
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
China 30%, France 15.1%, UK 4.8%, Cote d'Ivoire 4.8%, Thailand 4.7% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$636 million (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.6 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$342.6 million (2000)
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
XOF
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 581.2 (2003), 696.988 (2002), 733.039 (2001), 711.976 (2000), 615.699 (1999)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year

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   Communications    Benin
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
66,500 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
236,200 (2003)
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 - 1 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
879 (2004)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
70,000 (2003)

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   Transportation    Benin
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 578 km
narrow gauge: 578 km 1.000-m gauge (2003)
Highways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 6,787 km
paved: 1,357 km (including 10 km of expressways)
unpaved: 5,430 km (1999 est.)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
150 km (on River Niger along northern border) (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Cotonou, Porto-Novo
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
none
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
5 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2003 est.)
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 (2003 est.)

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   Military    Benin
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 1,638,010
females age 15-49: 1,647,850
note: both sexes are liable for military service (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 835,561
females age 15-49: 835,633 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 77,552
females: 81,841 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$98.3 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.7% (2003)

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   Transnational Issues    Benin
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
two villages remain in dispute along the border with Burkina Faso; accuses Burkina Faso of moving boundary pillars; much of Benin-Niger boundary, including tripoint with Nigeria, remains undemarcated, and ICJ ad hoc judges have been selected to rule on disputed Niger and Mekrou River islands; several villages along the Okpara River are in dispute with Nigeria; 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

Large portions of this information is from the US government open source publication "The World Factbook", other content copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. You may use this information without permission for educational or other non-profit purposes if you refer to us as the source, contact us if you want to use this commercially.


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