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Benin Facts Benin Flag Benin Map

Benin Map
current time and date
currency: West African CFA Franc (XOF)
Official languages
Life expectancy
Literacy rate
National anthem
Internet TLD & calling code:
Coat of arms
Benin profile
sandbanks create difficult access to a coast with no natural harbors, river mouths, or islands
Benin 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.
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Conventional long form: Republic of Benin

Conventional short form: Benin

Local long form: Republique du Benin

Local short form: Benin

Formerly known as: Dahomey
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Benin's capital city is Porto-Novo (official capital)
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Benin Constitution:

adopted by referendum 2 December 1990
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Benin population growth rate: 2.877%
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Benin highest point: Mont Sokbaro 658 m
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Benin lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
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About 24% of Benin's land is arable.
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Ouémé River is the Longest River in Benin
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Benin birth rate is 38 births/1,000 population
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Benin infant mortality rate is 60 deaths/1,000 live births
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Benin fertility rate is 5.13 children born/woman
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Benin climate:


hot, humid in south;

semiarid in north
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Top 10 cities of Benin with populations (2012 est.) are:
1. Cotonou: 690,584
2. Abomey-Calavi: 385,755
3. Porto-Novo: 234,168
4. Djougou: 202,810
5. Parakou: 163,753
6. Bohicon: 125,092
7. Kandi: 109,701
8. Lokossa: 86,971
9. Ouidah: 83,503
10. Abomey: 82,154
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Benin 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%
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Benin Exports:

shea butter
palm products
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Benin Imports:

capital goods
petroleum products
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unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (83 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)

Administrative Divisions:
12 departments
1. Alibori
2. Atakora
3. Atlantique
4. Borgou
5. Collines
6. Kouffo
7. Donga
8. Littoral
9. Mono
10. Oueme
11. Plateau
12. Zou
Political parties and leaders:
African Movement for Democracy and Progress (MADEP) - Sefou FAGBOHOUN

Alliance for Dynamic Democracy (ADD)

Alliance of Progress Forces (AFP)

Benin Renaissance (RB) - Rosine SOGLO

Democratic Renewal Party (PRD) - Adrien HOUNGBEDJI

Force Cowrie for an Emerging Benin (FCBE)

Impulse for Progress and Democracy (IPD) - Theophile NATA

Key Force (FC) - Lazare SÈHOUÉTO

Movement for the People's Alternative (MAP) - Olivier CAPO-CHICHI

Rally for Democracy and Progress (PRD) - Dominique HOUNGNINOU

Social Democrat Party (PSD) - Bruno AMOUSSOU

Union for Democracy and National Solidarity (UDS) - Sacca LAFIA

Union for the Relief (UPR) - Issa SALIFOU

Union Makes the Nation (UN)

note: approximately 20 additional minor parties