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___ Benin

A virtual guide to Benin. The Republic of Benin is a from north to south long stretched country in West Africa, situated east of Togo and west of Nigeria, it is bordered to the north by Burkina Faso and Niger, in south by the the Bight of Benin, in the Gulf of Guinea, that part of the tropical North Atlantic Ocean which is roughly south of West Africa. Benin's coastline is just 121 km (75 mi) long.

With an area of 112,622 km² the country is slightly larger than Bulgaria, or slightly smaller than the U.S. state Pennsylvania. Benin's former name, until 1975, was Dahomey.

Porto-Novo, a port on an inlet of the Gulf of Guinea is the nations capital city, largest city and economic capital is Cotonou. Spoken languages are French (official), Fon and Yoruba.

This page aims to give you a broad overview of Benin's art, culture, people, environment, geography, history, economy and government.
Benin village, Atakora province
Benin village, Atakora province
Image: Martin Wegmann

Republic of Benin | Republique du Bénin

Country Profile



Flag of Benin

Flag of Benin
 
Where in Africa is Benin?

Official Name:
Republique du Bénin
short form: Bénin
int'l long form: Republic of Benin
int'l short form: Benin
formerly: Dahomey

ISO Country Code: bj

Time:
Local Time = UTC +1h
Actual Time: Wed-Apr-1  10:22

Country Calling Code: +229

Capital City: Porto-Novo (pop. 295 000)
Largest cityand economic capital: Cotonou (pop. 2 million)

Other Cities: Abomey, Gavié, Kandi, Ouidah

Government:
Type: Republic under multiparty democratic rule.
Independence: 1 August 1960 (fom France).
Constitution: 10 December 1990.

Geography:
Location: Western Africa
Area: 112,622 km² (43,483 sq. mi.).
Terrain: Mostly flat plains of 200 meters average elevation, but the Atacora Mountains with the highest points being Mont Sokbaro 658 m, Mont Tanekas 641 m.

Climate: Tropical, average temperatures between 24 and 31 C. Humid in south; semiarid in north.

People:
Nationality: Beninese
Population: 9.9 million (2013)
Ethnic groups: 42 ethnic groups, most important being Fon, Adja, Yoruba, and Bariba.
Religions: Indigenous beliefs (animist) 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 20%.
Languages: French (official), Fon and Yoruba in the south; Nagot, Bariba and Dendi in the north.
Literacy: Total population 39%; men 53%, women 25%.

Natural resources: Small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber.

Agriculture products: Cotton, corn, cassava (tapioca), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts, livestock (2001)

Industries: Textiles, food processing, construction materials, cement (2001)

Exports - commodities: cotton, cashews, shea butter, textiles, palm products, seafood

Exports partners: China 25%, India 23.5%, Lebanon 18.7%, Niger 4.3%, Nigeria 4% (2012)

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)

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF)

Background:
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.


related countries: France, Haiti (Most Haitians trace their ancestry to Benin.)
 


Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Official Sites of Benin

Gouvernement de la République du Bénin
The official government of Benin portal site.

Présidence de la République
Official website of the Presidency of Benin. (in French)


Ministère des Affaires Étrangères du Bénin
Official Website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Benin. (in French)

Diplomatic Missions
Embassy of Benin
Embassy of Benin in Washinton, DC.
L’Ambassade de la République du Bénin au Canada
Embassy of Benin in Canada.
Ambassade du Bénin en France
Embassy of Benin in France.



Maps

Map of Benin
Political map of Benin.
Administrative Map of Benin
Map showing the administrative regions (departments) of Benin.

Google Earth Google Earth Benin
Searchable map and satellite view of Benin.
Google Earth Google Earth Porto-Novo
Searchable map and satellite view of Benin's capital city.
Google Earth Google Earth Cotonou
Searchable map and satellite view of Benin's economic capital and largest city.

Map of Africa
Political Map of Africa.
Relief Map of Africa

Fisher boats near Ganvié
Fisher boats near Ganvié.
Image: jbdodane




 

News

La Montagne
Recent news from Benin (in French)
L'araignée
News and cyber portal site (in French)
BeninInfo
Benin community website with recent news (in French)
 

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Arts & Culture

Abomey Historical Museum
Created by the French colonial administration in 1943, situated on the palatial site and comprises the palaces of King Guézo and King Glèlè.

African Tradition and Philosophy
Private site about Voodoo tradition which is closly related with Benin and theFon and Yoruba people of West Africa.

Music
Angélique Kidjo
SIte about the Benin born singer.
Le festival de musique vaudou Orishal
Orishala, the Voodoo music festival (in French).
 
 

Business & Economy

The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. 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.

Bank of Africa
The Bank of Africa Group is a multinational bank in Africa.
Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO)
Central Bank of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA)
West African Economic and Monetary Union (in French)
IZF.net, le portail de la Zone Franc CFA
Information about business and investment in the African countries within the monetary system of the Franc Zone - CFA. (in French)

Benin Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Provides information about the chamber and business and investment in Benin.
Conseil des Investisseurs Privés au Bénin
Council of Private Investors in Benin, the CIPB association website.
 
Cotonou
Street Scene Cotonou © ambassade-benin.org

Destination Benin - Travel and Tour Guides

Discover Benin: Ganvie, Ouidah, Cotonou, Abomey, Parakou, Port-Novo, Natitingou, Pendjari National Park.
Links to accommodation, hotels, attractions, festivals, events, tourist boards, tours and much more.

Discover Benin
Official website of tourism in Benin with extensive information about the country.

Being In Benin
Some information on the People's Republic of Benin.

Destination: Benin
A Voyage to the Source, Benin seen through the eyes of a Haitian.

Fon is Fun!  
Discover Benin (A Five Episode Documentary) includes also Fon language greetings, basic phrases and vocabulary.

Benin Travel Information and Travel Guide
by Lonely Planet.
 

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Tata Sombe
Ouidah, Tata Sombe  © ambassade-benin

Education

Ecole du Patrimoine Africain
School of African Heritage, an institution for vocational training in heritage conservation in Benin.
 
 

Environment & Nature

L'Organisation Béninoise pour la Promotion de l'Agriculture Biologique OBEPAB
Beninois Organisation for the Promotion of Organic Agriculture (in French)

Atlas of natural and agronomic resources of Niger and Benin
The "Atlas of Natural and Agronomic Resources of Niger and Benin" wants to summarise spatial data related to these subjects collected within the successful 15 years lasting Special Research Programme.
 
 

History


Benin History Timeline
Timeline of events of Dahomey and Benin. 
Door of no return
"Door Of No Return", a memorial to slavery at the beach of Ouidah, one of the large slave-trade ports in Africa, a main departure point for those sold into slavery between the 15th and 19th centuries.
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Other Countries of Western Africa
Burkina Faso | Cape Verde | Côte d'Ivoire | Gambia | Ghana | Guinea | Guinea-Bissau | Liberia | Mali
Mauritania | Niger | Nigeria | Senegal | Sierra Leone | Togo