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Countries of the World: Benin
Resources about Benin including maps, facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, and economy.

Economy of Benin GDP (2009): $6.4 billion. GDP growth rate (2009): 3.2%. Per capita GDP (2009): $1,500. Inflation rate (2009): 4%. Natural resources: Small offshore oil deposits, unexploited deposits of high quality marble limestone, and timber. Agricultural: Products--corn, sorghum, cassava, tapioca, yams, beans, rice, cotton, palm oil, cocoa, peanuts, poultry, and livestock. Arable land--13%. Permanent crops 4%, permanent pastures 4%, forests and woodland 31%. Business and industry: Textiles, cigarettes, food and beverages, construction materials, petroleum. Trade: Exports--$1.024 billion: cotton, cashews, shea butter, textiles, palm products, seafood. Imports--$1.54 billion: foodstuffs, tobacco, petroleum products, energy, and capital goods. Major trade partners--Nigeria, France, China, Italy, Brazil, Libya, Indonesia, U.K., Cote d'Ivoire.

Geography of Benin Area: 116,622 sq. km. (43,483 sq. mi.). Cities: Capital--Porto-Novo (pop. 295,000). Political and economic capital--Cotonou (pop. 2 million). Terrain: Mostly flat plains of 200 meters average elevation, but the Atacora Mountains extend along the northwest border, with the highest point being Mont Sokbaro 658 meters. Climate: Tropical, average temperatures between 24o and 31oC. Humid in south; semiarid in north.

Government of Benin Type: Republic under multiparty democratic rule. Independence: August 1, 1960. Constitution: December 11, 1990. Branches: Executive--President, elected by popular vote for 5-year term, renewable once, appoints the Cabinet. Legislative--Unicameral, 83-seat National Assembly directly elected by popular vote for 4-year term. Judicial-- Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, High Court of Justice. Subdivisions: Twelve departments: Borgou, Alibori, Atakora, Donga, Zou, Collines, Mono, Couffo, Oueme, Plateau, Atlantique, and Littoral. Political parties (partial listing of major parties): La Renaissance du Benin (RB), Party of Democratic Renewal (PRD), Social-Democrat Party (PSD), African Movement for Development and Progress (MADEP), Action Front for Democratic Renewal (FARD-ALAFIA), African Congress for Renewal (CAR-DUNYA), Impulse for Progress and Democracy (IPD), Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ADP), National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP), National Party Together (PNE), Key Force (FC), Hope Force (FE) Union for the Relief (UPR), Rally for Progress and Renewal (RPR), Movement for the People Alternative (MAP), Communist Party of Benin (PCB).

Map of Benin This Map of Benin shows the borders of the country, as well as rivers, and cities including Porto-Novo the capital of Benin. (Maps from the U.S. State Department)

Official Name of Benin The Official Name of Benin is the Republic of Benin. (Facts from the U.S. State Department)

People of Benin Nationality: Noun and adjective--Beninese (singular and plural). Population (2010): 9.05 million. Annual population growth rate (2010 est.): 2.9%. Ethnic groups: African 99% (42 ethnic groups, most important being Xwla, Fon, Adja, Yoruba, and Bariba), Europeans 5,500. Religions: Indigenous beliefs (animist) 35%, Christian 35%, Muslim 20%, others 10%, Languages: French (official), Fon, Mina, Goun, and Yoruba in the south; Nagot, Bariba, and Dendi in the north. Education (2008): Literacy--total population 44%; men 48%, women 23%. Health (2010): Infant mortality rate--61/1,000. Life expectancy--59 yrs. Work force: The labor market is characterized by an increased reliance on informal employment, family helpers, and the use of apprentices. Training and job opportunities are not well matched.

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