Benin
in Western Africa
Africa

Location Summary
Currency and Currency Code:
Franc - XOF
Spoken languages:
French
Local electricity:
220 V - 50 Hz (plugs: C, E)
Mobile phone / cellular frequencies (MHz):
900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 3G, 4G
ISO 2-Letter code:
BJ
Internet top level domain:
.bj
Country phone prefix:
+229
Local Time (capital):
Timezone:
UTC/GMT offset: hours

Explore Benin

Benin with its capital Porto-Novo is located in Africa (Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin). It covers some 112,623 square kilometers (slightly smaller than Pennsylvania) with a population of 11,038,800. French is the official language spoken by people in Benin. Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Togo are bordering countries.

Benin is a great country to visit on any West African itinerary. You'll find a large quantity of palatial ruins and temples of the once powerful Kingdom of Dahomey (1800s–1894). The national parks of Benin are also well worth a visit for their wildlife. The best time of the year to visit the country is from November to February, when the temperature moderates, and the weather is dry with low humidity. Benin is also, fortunately, one of the most stable and safe countries of the region for traveling. Visas can be single entry ($40USD) or multiple entry ($45USD) and last 30 days. Visas cost $100 for US citizens.

Popular Destinations in Benin

Administrative regions of Benin

About the country

B.P. 1508
Cotonou
Benin

Phone: +229 30 05 84

The topography is mostly flat to undulating plain with some hills and low mountains. The average density of population is about 98 per km². The climate in Benin can be described as tropicalhot, humid in south, semiarid in north. Potential natural disasters are hot, dry, dusty harmattan wind may affect north from December to March.

To reach someone Benin dial +229 prior to a number. The local cellular networks are operated on 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 3G, 4G. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".bj". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery chaarger), keep in min the local 220 V - 50 Hz (plugs: C, E). The sign for the locally used currency Franc is XOF.

Two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and red (bottom) with a vertical green band on the hoist side; green symbolizes hope and revival, yellow wealth, and red courage.

Flag of Benin

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. 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, 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

Area
Total (World Rank: 103) 112,622sq km
Land (World Rank: 100) 110,622sq km
Water (World Rank: 90) 2,000sq km
Forest (World Rank: 159) 4.90%
Comparative slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Coastline
121
Landborder
2123
Elevation
Highest point (World Rank: 187) 658m
Agricultural land
Total (World Rank: 132) 31.30%
Arable (World Rank: 45) 22.90%
Permanent crops (World Rank: 70) 3.50%
Permanent pastures (World Rank: 159) 4.90%
Irrigated land (World Rank: 131) 230sq km
Map reference
Africa
Environment
Issues
  • - deforestation
  • - desertification
  • - inadequate supplies of potable water
  • - poaching threatens wildlife populations
Agreement party
  • - 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
Hazzards hot, dry, dusty harmattan wind may affect north from December to March
Location
Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin, between Nigeria and Togo
Climate
tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north
Terrain
mostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains

People

Population
Total (World Rank: 82) 11,038,800
Deathrate (World Rank: 94) 0.79%
Birthrate (World Rank: 21) 3.50%
Growthrate (World Rank: 14) 2.70%
Fertility rate (World Rank: 17) 4.77%
Median age
Male (World Rank: 211) 17.70
Female (World Rank: 211) 18.40
Age structure
0 14 male (World Rank: 71) 2,402,030
0 14 female (World Rank: 73) 2,305,620
15 24 male (World Rank: 76) 1,148,200
15 24 female (World Rank: 77) 1,108,340
25 54 male (World Rank: 94) 1,699,620
25 54 female (World Rank: 96) 1,660,520
55 64 male (World Rank: 124) 174,633
55 64 female (World Rank: 117) 223,398
65 x male (World Rank: 124) 124,708
65 x female (World Rank: 117) 191,729
Health
Infant mortality rate (World Rank: 23) 5.42%
Life expectancy total (World Rank: 196) 62years
Life expectancy female (World Rank: 197) 63years
Life expectancy male (World Rank: 194) 61years
Physicians per 1000 (World Rank: 155) 0.15
Hospital bed per 1000 (World Rank: 172) 0.50
Sanitation access total (World Rank: 194) 19.70%
Obesity adult (World Rank: 155) 8.10%
Drinking water access (World Rank: 164) 77.90%

Energy

Electricity
Production (World Rank: 186) 200,000,000kWh
Consumption (World Rank: 154) 1,000,000,000kWh
Import (World Rank: 63) 1,100,000,000kWh
Source fossil (World Rank: 33) 99.40%
Source nuclear (World Rank: 150) 0.60%
Crude oil
Proved reserves (World Rank: 94) 8,000,000bbl
Refined products
Consumption (World Rank: 112) 41,000bbl / day
Export (World Rank: 93) 4,914bbl / day
Import (World Rank: 85) 44,950bbl / day
Natural gas
Consumption (World Rank: 134) 18
Carbon footprint
5000000

Nation

Budget
Education (World Rank: 95) 4% of GDP
Military (World Rank: 105) 1% of GDP
Health (World Rank: 154) 5% of GDP
Surplus (World Rank: 162) -6% of GDP
National symbol
leopard
National colours
yellow
Adjective
Beninese
Noun
Beninese (singular and plural)
Background
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. 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, 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.
Flag description
two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and red (bottom) with a vertical green band on the hoist side; green symbolizes hope and revival, yellow wealth, and red courage

Economy

Gdp
Purchasing power parity (World Rank: 141) 23,590,000,000USD
Real growth rate (World Rank: 64) 4.00%
Per capita purchasing power parity (World Rank: 200) 2,100USD
Source agriculture (World Rank: 30) 25.20%
Source industry (World Rank: 125) 23.20%
Source service (World Rank: 168) 51.50%
Labourforce
Total (World Rank: 98) 3,662,000
In poverty (World Rank: 44) 36.20%
Products
Industries
  • - cement
  • - construction materials
  • - food processing
  • - textiles
Agriculture
  • - beans
  • - cashews
  • - cassava
  • - corn
  • - cotton
  • - livestock
  • - manioc
  • - palm oil
  • - peanuts
  • - tapioca
  • - yams
Exports
  • - cashews
  • - cotton
  • - palm products
  • - seafood
  • - shea butter
  • - textiles
Imports
  • - capital goods
  • - foodstuffs
  • - petroleum products

Communication

Phone
Landline total (World Rank: 136) 124,883
Landline per 100 (World Rank: 214) 1.00
Mobile per 100 (World Rank: 158) 83.00
Assessment 0
Internet
Users (World Rank: 125) 1,288,340
Population (World Rank: 203) 12.00%

Transport

Air
Airports paved (World Rank: 201) 1.00
Airports unpaved (World Rank: 150) 5.00
Rail
Total length (World Rank: 118) 438
Road
Total length (World Rank: 122) 16,000
Paved length (World Rank: 134) 1,400
Unpaved length (World Rank: 73) 14,600
Water
Total length (World Rank: 103) 150.00