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Benin

Population: 10 160 556

GDP: 8 359 000 000.00 $

Description

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.

Population

 

Population: 10,160,556 (2014)

 

 

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%

 

 

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% 

GDP

 

GDP: $8 359 000 000.00 (2013)

Military Organization

 

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).

Conflicts and Disputes

 

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.

 

Benin is transshipment point used by traffickers for cocaine destined for Western Europe; vulnerable to money laundering due to poorly enforced financial regulations.

 

Geographical Information and Map

 

Capital: Porto-Novo (official capital);  Cotonou (seat of government).

 

Location: Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin, between Nigeria and Togo. Sandbanks create difficult access to a coast with no natural harbors, river mouths, or islands.

 

Geographic coordinates:

9 30 N, 2 15 E.

 

Area:

total: 112,622 sq km

land: 110,622 sq km

water: 2,000 sq km.

 

Land boundaries:

total: 2,123 km

border countries: Burkina Faso 386 km, Niger 277 km, Nigeria 809 km, Togo 651 km.

 

Coastline: 121 km.

 

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