One World
Nations Online

Benin flag detail
Home Earth Continents Africa Benin

___ Benin

Elephants at Pendjari National Park in Benin
Elephants at Pendjari National Park in north western Benin, the national park is known for its wildlife and is home to some of the last populations of big game.
Image: Marc Auer
Flag of Benin
Flag of Benin
Location map of Benin. Where in Africa is Benin?
Location map of Benin
A virtual guide to Benin. The Republic of Benin is from north to south a 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.

Benin has a population of 10 million people (in 2013), 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.


Republic of Benin | Republique du Bénin

Country Profile

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 a 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.)

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, ben

Local Time = UTC +1h
Actual Time: Thu-Nov-30  14:24

Country Calling Code: +229

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

Other Cities: Abomey, Gavié, Kandi, Ouidah

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

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.

Nationality: Beninese
Population: 10 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: India 24.2%, Gabon 14.6%, China 7.2%, Niger 6%, Bangladesh 5%, Nigeria 4.9%, Vietnam 4.2% (2015)

Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, capital goods, petroleum products

Imports partners: China 42.1%, USA 8.9%, India 5.7%, Malaysia 4.8%, Thailand 4.3%, France 4% (2015)

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF)
Palais des Congres in Cotonou, Benin
Palais des Congres, a multi-purpose government building in Cotonou, the capital city of Benin.
Image: Loic Pinseel

Official Sites of Benin

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

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

L’Assemblée Nationale du Benin
Benin's national assembly.

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.


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.

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



Benin has a vibrant media landscape. The Constitution of Benin, adopted in 1990, guarantees and protects freedom of expression, including freedom of the press, but harsh libel laws have been used against journalists. A new media law has decriminalized media offences except for insulting the president and endangering national security.

Online Newspaper (in French)
A private daily newspaper.
La Montagne
Recent news from Benin.
L'événement Précis
National and Africa related news.
Le Matinal
Quotidien Le Matinal is a private daily newspaper.
La Nation
Benin government daily with official news and information.
Benin website with recent news.

Broadcasting and Television of Benin (ORTB)
National Television.

Bookmark/share this page

Arrival of the Zangbeto guardians
Arrival of the Zangbeto, the masked spirits of the Ewe and Yoruba people. The highly revered Zangbeto are the voodoo guardians of the night in the Yoruba religion of Benin and Togo.
Image: Linda De Volder

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.

West African Vodun
Wikipedia article about Voodoo tradition which is closly related with Benin and theFon and Yoruba people of West Africa.

Vodun Festival in Ouidah
Orishala, the Voodoo music festival (in French).

Angélique Kidjo
SIte of the Benin born singer.


Fisher boats in Lake Nokoué near Ganvié, Benin
Fisher boats near Ganvié, a lake village in Lake Nokoué near Cotonou, Benin.
Image: jbdodan

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), 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.
Street Scene in Cotonou
Street Scene Cotonou
Benin village, Atakora province
Benin village in Atakora province.
Image: Martin Wegmann

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Destination Benin - Travel and Tour Guides

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

Tourisme Benin
Benin's official tourism website. (in French)

Travel to Benin and Tourism
Benin Embassy with some information about travel in the country.

Discover Benin
Website about tourism in Benin with information about the country.

Benin Travel Information and Travel Guide
by Lonely Planet.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Benin

World Heritage Site Royal Palaces of Abomey
A was the capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey from the 17th to 19th centuries. Twelve kings succeeded one another as the head of the Kingdom of Abomey, they all had their palaces built within the same cob-wall area.

Tata Somba houses Tamberma village
Tamberma village near Boukoumbe.
Image: Panoramas


Ecole du Patrimoine Africain
School of African Heritage, an institution for vocational training in heritage conservation in Benin.
Hartebeest herd Pendjari Nationalpark, Benin
Antilope herd in the Pendjari Nationalpark Benin.
Image: Martin Wegmann

Environment & Nature

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.
Ouidah, Tata Sombe, Benin
Ouidah, Tata Somba house. 
© ambassade-benin


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.

Sources and additional Information on Benin

Amnesty International: Benin

Africa South of the Sahara: Benin
Stanford University.

BBC Country Profile: Benin

FAO: Benin

GlobalEDGE: Benin

The Heritage Foundation: Benin

Human Rights Watch: Benin

OEC: Benin

Reporters Without Borders: Benin Benin

UNDP - Human Development Indicators: Benin

Worldbank Data: Benin

Wikipedia: Benin

The World Factbook -- Benin
 Support UNICEF

Major Cities in West Africa
Abidjan, Abuja, Accra, Bamako, Banjul, Bissau, Conakry, Cotonou, Dakar, Freetown, Lagos, Lomé, Monrovia,
Niamey, Nouakchott, Ouagadougou, Porto-Novo, Praia, Sao Tome City, Yamoussoukro

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