Benin Population: 9,877,292

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 History
Present day Benin was the site of Dahomey, a West African kingdom that rose to prominence in about 1600 and over the next two and half centuries became a regional power, largely based on its slave trade. Coastal areas of Dahomey began to be controlled by the French 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. YAYI, who won a second five-year term in March 2011, has attempted to stem corruption and has strongly promoted accelerating Benin's economic growth.

 Geography
Sandbanks create difficult access to a coast with no natural harbors, river mouths, or islands
Location: Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin, between Nigeria and Togo
Geographic coordinates: 9 30 N, 2 15 E
Area: total: 112,622 sq km
land: 110,622 sq km
water: 2,000 sq km

Size comparison: slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Land Boundaries: total: 1,989 km
border countries: Burkina Faso 306 km, Niger 266 km, Nigeria 773 km, Togo 644 km
Coastline: 121 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north
Terrain: mostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Sokbaro 658 m
Natural resources: small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber
Land use: arable land: 22.48%
permanent crops: 2.61%
other: 74.9% (2011)
Irrigated land: 230.4 sq km (2008)
Natural hazards: hot, dry, dusty harmattan wind may affect north from December to March
Current Environment Issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification
International Environment Agreements: 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, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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 People
Nationality: noun: Beninese (singular and plural)
adjective: Beninese
Ethnic groups: Fon and related 39.2%, Adja and related 15.2%, Yoruba and related 12.3%, Bariba and related 9.2%, Peulh and related 7%, Ottamari and related 6.1%, Yoa-Lokpa and related 4%, Dendi and related 2.5%, other 1.6% (includes Europeans), unspecified 2.9% (2002 census)
Languages: French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)
Religions: Catholic 27.1%, Muslim 24.4%, Vodoun 17.3%, Protestant 10.4% (Celestial 5%, Methodist 3.2%, other Protestant 2.2%), other Christian 5.3%, other 15.5% (2002 census)
Population: 9,877,292 (July 2013 est.) 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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
Age structure: 0-14 years: 44.1% (male 2,223,497/female 2,134,644)
15-24 years: 19.9% (male 1,001,845/female 967,664)
25-54 years: 29.7% (male 1,476,894/female 1,456,501)
55-64 years: 3.5% (male 143,594/female 200,424)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 109,009/female 163,220) (2013 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 84 %
youth dependency ratio: 78.7 %
elderly dependency ratio: 5.3 %
potential support ratio: 18.8 (2013)
Median age: total: 17.6 years
male: 17.2 years
female: 18 years (2013 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.84% (2013 est.)
Birth rate: 37.02 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Death rate: 8.59 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 44.9% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 4.12% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: COTONOU (seat of government) 924,000; PORTO-NOVO (capital) 314,000 (2011)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.71 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 20 (2006 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 350 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Infant mortality rate: total: 58.54 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.76 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 55.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 60.67 years
male: 59.37 years
female: 62.04 years (2013 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.13 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 12.9% (2012)
Health expenditures: 4.1% of GDP (2010)
Physicians density: 0.06 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
Hospital bed density: 0.5 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 84% of population
rural: 68% of population
total: 75% of population

unimproved:
urban: 16% of population
rural: 32% of population
total: 25% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 25% of population
rural: 5% of population
total: 13% of population

unimproved:
urban: 75% of population
rural: 95% of population
total: 87% of population (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.2% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 60,000 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 2,700 (2009 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 6% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 20.2% (2006)
Education expenditures: 5.4% of GDP (2010)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 42.4%
male: 55.2%
female: 30.3% (2010 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 9 years
male: 11 years
female: 8 years (2005)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 0.8%
male: 1.1%
female: 0.6% (2002)
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 Government
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Benin
conventional short form: Benin
local long form: Republique du Benin
local short form: Benin
former: Dahomey
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Porto-Novo (official capital)
geographic coordinates: 6 29 N, 2 37 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

note: Cotonou (seat of government)
Administrative divisions: 12 departments; Alibori, Atakora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Kouffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou
Independence: 1 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday: National Day, 1 August (1960)
Constitution: adopted by referendum 2 December 1990
Legal system: civil law system modeled largely on the French system and some customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Thomas BONI YAYI (since 6 April 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Thomas BONI YAYI (since 6 April 2006); Prime Minister Pascal KOUPAKI (since 28 May 2011)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president (For more information visit the World Leaders website )

elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); last held on 13 March 2011 (next to be held in March 2016)

election results: Thomas YAYI Boni re-elected president; percent of vote - Thomas YAYI Boni 53.1%, Adrien HOUNGBEDJI 35.6%, Abdoulaye Bio TCHANE 6.1%, other 5.2%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (83 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held on 30 April 2011 (next to be held in 2015)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FCBE 41, UN 30, other 12
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of the court president and 3 chamber presidents 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 to limited cases of high treason by the national president or members of the government judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president and judges appointed by the national president 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 national president; members appointed for single renewable 5-year terms; High Court of Justice "other" members 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 Democracy and Progress or MADEP [Sefou FAGBOHOUN]; Alliance for Dynamic Democracy or ADD; Alliance of Progress Forces or AFP; Benin Renaissance or RB [Rosine SOGLO]; Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI]; Force Cowrie for an Emerging Benin or FCBE; Impulse for Progress and Democracy or IPD [Theophile NATA]; Key Force or FC [Lazare SÈHOUÉTO]; Movement for the People's Alternative or MAP [Olivier CAPO-CHICHI]; Rally for Democracy and Progress or PRD [Dominique HOUNGNINOU]; Social Democrat Party or PSD [Bruno AMOUSSOU]; Union for Democracy and National Solidarity or UDS [Sacca LAFIA]; Union for the Relief or UPR [Issa SALIFOU]; Union Makes the Nation or UN note: approximately 20 additional minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders: other: economic groups; environmentalists; political groups; teachers' unions and other educational groups
International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AU, CD, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WAEMU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): leopard
National anthem: name: "L'Aube Nouvelle" (The Dawn of a New Day)
lyrics/music: Gilbert Jean DAGNON

note: adopted 1960
Diplomatic representation in the US: 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: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Susan TULLER
embassy: Rue Caporal Bernard Anani, Cotonou
mailing address: 01 B. P. 2012, Cotonou
telephone: [229] 21-30-06-50
FAX: [229] 21-30-66-82
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 Economy
The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. Growth in real output had averaged almost 4% before the global recession and it has returned to roughly that level in 2011-12. Inflation has subsided over the past several years. In order to raise growth, 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. Specific projects to improve the business climate by reforms to the land tenure system, the commercial justice system, and the financial sector were included in Benin's $307 million Millennium Challenge Account grant signed in February 2006. The 2001 privatization policy continues in telecommunications, water, electricity, and agriculture. The Paris Club and bilateral creditors have eased the external debt situation with Benin benefiting from a G-8 debt reduction announced in July 2005, while pressing for more rapid structural reforms. An insufficient electrical supply continues to adversely affect Benin's economic growth though the government recently has taken steps to increase domestic power production. Private foreign direct investment is small, and foreign aid accounts for the majority of investment in infrastructure projects. Cotton, a key export, suffered from flooding in 2010-11, but high prices supported export earnings. The government agreed to a 25% increase in civil servant salaries in 2011, following a series of strikes, increasing pressure on the national budget. Benin has appealed for international assistance to mitigate piracy against commercial shipping in its territory.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $15.84 billion (2012 est.) $15.26 billion (2011 est.) $14.74 billion (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $7.429 billion (2012 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.8% (2012 est.) 3.5% (2011 est.) 2.6% (2010 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,700 (2012 est.) $1,700 (2011 est.) $1,700 (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars
Gross national saving: 13.9% of GDP (2012 est.) 12.9% of GDP (2011 est.) 13.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 79.9%
government consumption: 10.5%
investment in fixed capital: 22.6%
investment in inventories: 0.6%
exports of goods and services: 19.4%
imports of goods and services: -33% (2012 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 79.9%
government consumption: 10.5%
investment in fixed capital: 22.6%
investment in inventories: 0.6%
exports of goods and services: 19.4%
imports of goods and services: -33% (2012 est.)
Agriculture - products: cotton, corn, cassava (manioc), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts, cashews; livestock
Industries: textiles, food processing, construction materials, cement
Industrial production growth rate: 3.3% (2012 est.)
Labor force: 3.662 million (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: 37.4% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.1%
highest 10%: 29% (2003)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 36.5 (2003)
Budget: revenues: $1.407 billion
expenditures: $1.671 billion (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 18.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
Public debt: 28.2% of GDP (2012 est.) 29.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.8% (2012 est.) 2.7% (2011 est.)
Current account balance: -$625.3 million (2012 est.) -$699.9 million (2011 est.)
Exports: $1.55 billion (2012 est.) $1.593 billion (2011 est.)
Exports - commodities: cotton, cashews, shea butter, textiles, palm products, seafood
Exports - partners: China 25.4%, India 24.6%, Lebanon 15.6%, Niger 4.8%, Nigeria 4.2% (2012)
Imports: $2.152 billion (2012 est.) $2.188 billion (2011 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, capital goods, petroleum products
Imports - partners: China 37.2%, US 8.9%, India 6.7%, France 5.6%, Malaysia 5.3% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $859.4 million (31 December 2012 est.) $887.4 million (31 December 2011 est.)
Debt - external: $1.403 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $1.327 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 510.53 (2012 est.) 471.87 (2011 est.) 495.28 (2010 est.) 472.19 (2009) 447.81 (2008)
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 Energy
Electricity - production: 120 million kWh (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 192
Electricity - consumption: 778 million kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - imports: 866 million kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 60,000 kW (2009 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 98.3% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 1.7% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 8 million bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 29,170 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 11,410 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 35,140 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 1.133 billion cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 3.65 million Mt (2010 est.)
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 Communications
Telephones in use: 152,700 (2011)
country comparison to the world: 133
Cellular Phones in use: 7.765 million (2011)
Telephone system: general assessment: inadequate system of open-wire, microwave radio relay, and cellular connections; fixed-line network characterized by aging, deteriorating equipment

domestic: fixed-line teledensity only about 2 per 100 persons; spurred by the presence of multiple mobile-cellular providers, cellular telephone subscribership has been increasing rapidly

international: country code - 229; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and Asia; long distance fiber-optic links with Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Nigeria; satellite earth stations - 7 (Intelsat-Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
Broadcast media: state-run Office de Radiodiffusion et de Television du Benin (ORTB) operates a TV station with multiple channels giving it 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 (2007)
Internet country code: .bj
Internet hosts: 491 (2012)
Internet users: 200,100 (2009)
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 Transportation
Airports: 6 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 171
Airports (paved runways): total 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 5

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
Railways: total 438 km

narrow gauge: 438 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)
Roadways: total 16,000 km
paved: 1,400 km
unpaved: 14,600 km (2006)
Waterways: 150 km (seasonal navigation on River Niger along northern border) (2011)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Cotonou
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 Military
Military branches: Benin Armed Forces (Forces Armees Beninoises, FAB): Army (l'Arme de Terre), Benin Navy (Forces Navales Beninois, FNB), Benin Air Force (Force Aerienne du Benin, FAB) (2013)
Military service age and obligation: 18-35 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service; a higher education diploma is required; both sexes are eligible for military service; conscript tour of duty - 18 months (2013)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 2,095,373
females age 16-49: 2,038,351 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 1,385,065
females age 16-49: 1,400,045 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 108,496
female: 104,526 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures: 1.5% of GDP (2011)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: talks continue between Benin and Togo on funding the Adjrala hydroelectric dam on the Mona River; Benin retains a border dispute with Burkina Faso around the town of Koualou; location of Benin-Niger-Nigeria tripoint is unresolved
Illicit drugs: transshipment point used by traffickers for cocaine destined for Western Europe; vulnerable to money laundering due to poorly enforced financial regulations (2008)
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