Benin Population: 11,340,504

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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 a half centuries became a regional power, largely based on its slave trade. France began to control the coastal areas of Dahomey 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, who won a second five-year term in March 2011. Patrice TALON, a wealthy businessman, took office in 2016 after campaigning to restore public confidence in the government.

 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: 2,123 km border countries (4): Burkina Faso 386 km, Niger 277 km, Nigeria 809 km, Togo 651 km
Coastline: 121 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north
Terrain: mostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains
Natural resources: small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber
Land use: agricultural land: 31.3% (2011 est.) arable land: 22.9% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 3.5% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 4.9% (2011 est.) forest: 40% (2011 est.)
other: 28.7% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 230 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: hot, dry, dusty harmattan wind may affect north from December to March
Current Environment Issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; water pollution; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification (the spread of the desert into agricultural lands in the north is accelerated by regular droughts)
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 38.4%, Adja and related 15.1%, Yoruba and related 12%, Bariba and related 9.6%, Fulani and related 8.6%, Ottamari and related 6.1%, Yoa-Lokpa and related 4.3%, Dendi and related 2.9%, other 0.9%, foreigner 1.9% (2013 est.)
Languages: French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)
Religions: Muslim 27.7%, Roman Catholic 25.5%, Protestant 13.5% (Celestial 6.7%, Methodist 3.4%, other Protestant 3.4%), Vodoun 11.6%, other Christian 9.5%, other traditional religions 2.6%, other 2.6%, none 5.8% (2013 est.)
Population: 11,340,504 (July 2018 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: 42.26% (male 2,445,265 /female 2,347,091)
15-24 years: 20.53% (male 1,184,977 /female 1,143,605)
25-54 years: 30.66% (male 1,759,834 /female 1,717,467)
55-64 years: 3.65% (male 184,453 /female 229,945)
65 years and over: 2.89% (male 128,920 /female 198,947) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 86.1 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 80.1 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 6 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 16.6 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 18.4 years
male: 18.1 years
female: 18.7 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.68% (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 34.5 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 7.7 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 47.3% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 3.89% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 285,000 PORTO-NOVO (capital)
685,000 COTONOU (seat of government)
928,000 Abomey-Calavi (2018)
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: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.8 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.65 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2018 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth: 20.4 years (2017/18 est.) note: median age at first birth among women 25-29
Maternal mortality rate: 405 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 51.5 deaths/1,000 live births male: 54.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 48.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 62.7 years male: 61.2 years
female: 64.2 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.67 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 15.5% (2017/18)
Physicians density: 0.16 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Hospital bed density: 0.5 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 85.2% of population
rural: 72.1% of population
total: 77.9% of population

unimproved:
urban: 14.8% of population
rural: 27.9% of population
total: 22.1% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 35.6% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 7.3% of population (2015 est.)
total: 19.7% of population (2015 est.)

unimproved:
urban: 64.4% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 92.7% of population (2015 est.)
total: 80.3% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1% (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 70,000 (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 2,500 (2017 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 9.6% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 16.8% (2018)
Education expenditures: 4% of GDP (2016)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
total population: 38.4%
male: 49.9%
female: 27.3% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 13 years male: 14 years female: 11 years (2016)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 5.6% male: 5.2% female: 5.9% (2011 est.)
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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, People's Republic of Benin
etymology: named for the Bight of Benin, the body of water on which the country lies
Government type: presidential republic
Capital: name: Porto-Novo (constitutional capital); Cotonou (seat of government)
geographic coordinates: 6 29 N, 2 37 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: the name Porto-Novo is Portuguese for "new port"; Cotonou means "by the river of death" in the native Fon language
Administrative divisions: 12 departments; Alibori, Atacora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Couffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou
Independence: 1 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday: Independence Day, 1 August (1960)
Constitution: history: previous 1946, 1958 (preindependence); latest adopted by referendum 2 December 1990, promulgated 11 December 1990 amendments: proposed concurrently by the president of the republic (after a decision in the Council of Ministers) and the National Assembly; consideration of drafts or proposals requires at least three-fourths majority vote of the Assembly membership; passage requires approval in a referendum unless approved by at least four-fifths majority vote of the Assembly membership; constitutional articles affecting territorial sovereignty, the republican form of government, and secularity of Benin cannot be amended (2017)
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 Patrice TALON (since 6 April 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Patrice TALON (since 6 April 2016); prime minister position abolished

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); last held on 6 March and 20 March 2016 (next to be held in 2021)

election results: Patrice TALON elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Lionel ZINSOU (FCBE) 28.4%, Patrice TALON (independent) 24.8%, Sebastien AJAVON (independent) 23.%, Abdoulaye Bio TCHANE (ABT) 8.8%, Pascal KOUPAKI (NC) 5.9%, other 9.1%; percent of vote in second round - Patrice TALON 65.4%, Lionel ZINSOU 34.6%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (83 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 28 April 2019 (next to be held in April 2023)

election results: percent of vote by party - Union Progressiste 56.2%, Bloc Republicain 43.8%; seats by party - Union Progressiste 47, Bloc Republicain 36; composition - men 77, women 6, percent of women 7.2%
Judicial branch: highest courts: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of the chief justice and 16 justices 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 limited to cases of high treason by the national president or members of the government while in office judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president and judges appointed by the president of the republic 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 president of the republic; members appointed for single renewable 5-year terms; other members of the High Court of Justice 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: Alliance for a Triumphant Benin or ABT [Abdoulaye BIO TCHANE] African Movement for Development and Progress or MADEP [Sefou FAGBOHOUN] Benin Renaissance or RB [Lehady SOGLO] Cowrie Force for an Emerging Benin or FCBE [Yayi BONI] Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI] National Alliance for Development and Democracy or AND [Valentin Aditi HOUDE] New Consciousness Rally or NC [Pascal KOUPAKI] Patriotic Awakening or RP [Janvier YAHOUEDEOU] Social Democrat Party or PSD [Emmanuel GOLOU] Sun Alliance or AS [Sacca LAFIA] Union Makes the Nation or UN [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI] (includes PRD, MADEP) United Democratic Forces or FDU [Mathurin NAGO] note: approximately 20 additional minor parties
International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AU, CD, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): leopard;
national colors: green, yellow, red
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: Charge d'Affaires Gafari DANGO (since March 2019)
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 Patricia MAHONEY (since 18 January 2019)
embassy: Caporal Bernard Anani, 01 BP 2012, Cotonou
mailing address: 01 B. P. 2012, Cotonou
telephone: [229] 21-30-06-50
FAX: [229] 21-30-03-84
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 Economy
The free market economy of Benin has grown consecutively for four years, though growth slowed in 2017, as its close trade links to Nigeria expose Benin to risks from volatile commodity prices. Cotton is a key export commodity, with export earnings significantly impacted by the price of cotton in the broader market. The economy began deflating in 2017, with the consumer price index falling 0.8%. During the first two years of President TALON’s administration, which began in April 2016, the government has followed an ambitious action plan to kickstart development through investments in infrastructure, education, agriculture, and governance. Electricity generation, which has constrained Benin’s economic growth, has increased and blackouts have been considerably reduced. Private foreign direct investment is small, and foreign aid accounts for a large proportion of investment in infrastructure projects. Benin has appealed for international assistance to mitigate piracy against commercial shipping in its territory, and has used equipment from donors effectively against such piracy. Pilferage has significantly dropped at the Port of Cotonou, though the port is still struggling with effective implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. Projects included in Benin's $307 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) first compact (2006-11) were designed to increase investment and private sector activity by improving key institutional and physical infrastructure. The four projects focused on access to land, access to financial services, access to justice, and access to markets (including modernization of the port). The Port of Cotonou is a major contributor to Benin’s economy, with revenues projected to account for more than 40% of Benin’s national budget. Benin will need further efforts to upgrade infrastructure, stem corruption, and expand access to foreign markets to achieve its potential. In September 2015, Benin signed a second MCC Compact for $375 million that entered into force in June 2017 and is designed to strengthen the national utility service provider, attract private sector investment, fund infrastructure investments in electricity generation and distribution, and develop off-grid electrification for poor and unserved households. As part of the Government of Benin’s action plan to spur growth, Benin passed public private partnership legislation in 2017 to attract more foreign investment, place more emphasis on tourism, facilitate the development of new food processing systems and agricultural products, encourage new information and communication technology, and establish Independent Power Producers. In April 2017, the IMF approved a three year $150.4 million Extended Credit Facility agreement to maintain debt sustainability and boost donor confidence.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $25.39 billion (2017 est.) $24.04 billion (2016 est.) $23.12 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $9.246 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.6% (2017 est.) 4% (2016 est.) 2.1% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,300 (2017 est.) $2,200 (2016 est.) $2,200 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving: 17.3% of GDP (2017 est.) 15.2% of GDP (2016 est.) 16.6% of GDP (2015 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 70.5% (2017 est.) government consumption: 13.1% (2017 est.) investment in fixed capital: 27.6% (2017 est.) investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.) exports of goods and services: 31.6% (2017 est.) imports of goods and services: -43% (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 26.1% (2017 est.) industry: 22.8% (2017 est.) services: 51.1% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: cotton, corn, cassava (manioc, tapioca), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts, cashews; livestock
Industries: textiles, food processing, construction materials, cement
Industrial production growth rate: 3% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 3.662 million (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate: 1% (2014 est.)
Population below poverty line: 36.2% (2011 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: 1.578 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 2.152 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 17.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -6.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt: 54.6% of GDP (2017 est.) 49.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.1% (2017 est.) -0.8% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: -$1.024 billion (2017 est.) -$808 million (2016 est.)
Exports: $1.974 billion (2017 est.) $1.588 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities: cotton, cashews, shea butter, textiles, palm products, seafood
Exports - partners: Bangladesh 18.1%, India 10.7%, Ukraine 9%, Niger 8.1%, China 7.7%, Nigeria 7.2%, Turkey 4% (2017)
Imports: $2.787 billion (2017 est.) $2.443 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, capital goods, petroleum products
Imports - partners: Thailand 18.1%, India 15.9%, France 8.5%, China 7.5%, Togo 5.9%, Netherlands 4.3%, Belgium 4.3% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $698.9 million (31 December 2017 est.) $57.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external: $2.804 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $2.476 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: n/a
Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 605.3 (2017 est.) 593.01 (2016 est.) 593.01 (2015 est.) 591.45 (2014 est.) 494.42 (2013 est.)
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 Energy
Electricity - production: 335 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 1.143 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports: 1.088 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 321,000 kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 88% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 9% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 2% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 8 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 38,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 1,514 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 38,040 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 1.133 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 5.664 million Mt (2017 est.)
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 Communications
Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 8,773,044
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 79 (2017 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: fixed-line network characterized by aging, deteriorating equipment; mobile networks account for almost all Internet connections; govt. aims to provide telecoms services to 80% of the country, mostly via mobile infrastructure; govt aims to restructure state-owned telcos and has partially done so; Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is available; Benin joins free roaming scheme (2018)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity only about 1 per 100 persons; spurred by the presence of multiple mobile-cellular providers, cellular telephone subscribership has increased rapidly, exceeding 79 per 100 persons in 2017 (2018)

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);Orange commissions new connection from the ACE submarine cable, connecting Benin with Tenerife
Broadcast media: state-run Office de Radiodiffusion et de Television du Benin (ORTB) operates a TV station providing 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 (2019)
Internet country code: .bj
Internet users: total: 1,288,336
percent of population: 12% (July 2016 est.)
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 Transportation
Airports: 6 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 1
(2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 5
(2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
Pipelines: 134 km gas
Railways: total 438 km
(2014)
narrow gauge: 438 km 1.000-m gauge (2014)
Roadways: total 16,000 km
(2006) paved: 1,400 km (2006)
unpaved: 14,600 km (2006)
Waterways: 150 km (seasonal navigation on River Niger along northern border) (2011)
Merchant marine: total 6

by type: other 6 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Cotonou LNG terminal(s) (import): 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)
Military expenditures: 1.14% of GDP (2016) 1.1% of GDP (2015) 0.96% of GDP (2014) 0.94% of GDP (2013) 0.96% of GDP (2012)
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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 near 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
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