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Benin (2006)

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Benin 2006 year

Administrative divisions 12 departments; Alibori, Atakora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Kouffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou
Age structure 0-14 years: 44.1% (male 1,751,709/female 1,719,138)

15-64 years: 53.5% (male 2,067,248/female 2,138,957)

65 years and over: 2.4% (male 75,694/female 110,198) (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products cotton, corn, cassava (tapioca), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts; livestock
Airports 5 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways total: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2006)
Area total: 112,620 sq km

land: 110,620 sq km

water: 2,000 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Background Present day Benin was the site of Dahomey, a prominent West African kingdom that rose in the 15th century. The territory became a French Colony in 1872 and achieved independence on 1 August 1960, as the Republic of Benin. 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.
Birth rate 38.85 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Budget revenues: $766.8 million

expenditures: $1.017 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Capital name: Porto-Novo (official capital)

geographic coordinates: 6 29 N, 2 37 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

note: Cotonou (seat of government)
Climate tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north
Coastline 121 km
Constitution December 1990
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Benin

conventional short form: Benin

local long form: Republique du Benin

local short form: Benin

former: Dahomey
Death rate 12.22 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Debt - external $1.6 billion (2000)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Wayne NEILL

embassy: Rue Caporal Bernard Anani, Cotonou

mailing address: 01 B. P. 2012, Cotonou

telephone: [229] 30-06-50

FAX: [229] 30-06-70
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Cyrille Segbe OGUIN

chancery: 2124 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 232-6656

FAX: [1] (202) 265-1996
Disputes - international Benin and Burkina Faso military clash in 2006 over sections of riverine boundary involving disputed villages and squatters; much of Benin-Niger boundary, including tripoint with Nigeria, remains undemarcated; in 2005, Nigeria ceded thirteen villages to Benin as a consequence of a 2004 joint task force to resolve maritime and land boundary disputes, but clashes among rival gangs along the border persist; a joint boundary commission continues to resurvey the boundary with Togo to verify Benin's claim that Togo moved boundary stones
Economic aid - recipient $342.6 million (2000)
Economy - overview The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. Growth in real output has averaged around 5% in the past six years, but rapid population growth has offset much of this increase. Inflation has subsided over the past several years. In order to raise growth still further, Benin plans to attract more foreign investment, place more emphasis on tourism, facilitate the development of new food processing systems and agricultural products, and encourage new information and communication technology. Many of these proposals are included in Benin's application to receive Millennium Challenge Account funding - for which it was a finalist in 2004-05. The 2001 privatization policy continues in telecommunications, water, electricity, and agriculture in spite of government reluctance. The Paris Club and bilateral creditors have eased the external debt situation, with Benin benefiting from a G8 debt reduction announced in July 2005, while pressing for more rapid structural reforms. Benin continues to be hurt by Nigerian trade protection that bans imports of a growing list of products from Benin and elsewhere, which has resulted in increased smuggling and criminality in the border region.
Electricity - consumption 538.2 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports 474 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - production 69 million kWh (2003)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mont Sokbaro 658 m
Environment - current issues inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification
Environment - international 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

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Ethnic groups African 99% (42 ethnic groups, most important being Fon, Adja, Yoruba, Bariba), Europeans 5,500
Exchange rates Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003), 696.99 (2002), 733.04 (2001)
Executive branch chief of state: President YAYI Boni (since 6 April 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

head of government: President YAYI Boni (since 6 April 2006)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections: president reelected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); runoff election held 19 March 2006 (next to be held March 2011)

election results: YAYI Boni elected president; percent of vote - YAYI Boni 74.5%, Adrien HOUNGBEDJI 25.5%
Exports 0 kWh (2003)
Exports $826.9 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports NA bbl/day
Exports - commodities cotton, crude oil, palm products, cocoa
Exports - partners China 31.3%, Indonesia 8.1%, India 7.4%, Niger 6%, Togo 4.8%, Thailand 4.8%, Nigeria 4.6% (2005)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and red (bottom) with a vertical green band on the hoist side
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 31.6%

industry: 13.8%

services: 54.6% (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 3.5% (2005 est.)
Geographic coordinates 9 30 N, 2 15 E
Geography - note sandbanks create difficult access to a coast with no natural harbors, river mouths, or islands
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
Illicit drugs transshipment point for narcotics associated with Nigerian trafficking organizations and most commonly destined for Western Europe and the US; vulnerable to money laundering due to a poorly regulated financial infrastructure
Imports 474 million kWh (2003)
Imports $1.043 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports NA bbl/day
Imports - commodities foodstuffs, capital goods, petroleum products
Imports - partners France 21.8%, Ghana 7.1%, Cote d'Ivoire 7%, China 6.7%, UK 5.2%, Belgium 4.9%, Togo 4.5%, Thailand 4.2%, Nigeria 4% (2005)
Independence 1 August 1960 (from France)
Industrial production growth rate 8.3% (2001 est.)
Industries textiles, food processing, construction materials, cement
Infant mortality rate total: 79.56 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 84.09 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 74.88 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 3.5% (2005 est.)
International organization participation ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, MONUC, NAM, OIC, OIF, ONUB, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Irrigated land 120 sq km (2003)
Judicial branch Constitutional Court or Cour Constitutionnelle; Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; High Court of Justice
Labor force 3.211 million
Land boundaries total: 1,989 km

border countries: Burkina Faso 306 km, Niger 266 km, Nigeria 773 km, Togo 644 km
Land use arable land: 23.53%

permanent crops: 2.37%

other: 74.1% (2005)
Languages French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)
Legal system based on French civil law and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Legislative branch unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (83 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held 30 March 2003 (next to be held March 2007)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Presidential Movement (UBF, MADEP, FC, Alliance MDC-PC-CPP, IPD, AFP, MDS, RDP) 52, opposition (PRB, PRD, E'toile, and 5 other small parties) 31
Life expectancy at birth total population: 53.04 years

male: 51.9 years

female: 54.22 years (2006 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 33.6%

male: 46.4%

female: 22.6% (2002 est.)
Location Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin, between Nigeria and Togo
Map references Africa
Maritime claims territorial sea: 200 nm
Military branches Army, Navy, Air Force
Military expenditures - dollar figure $100.9 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 2.3% (2005 est.)
National holiday National Day, 1 August (1960)
Nationality noun: Beninese (singular and plural)

adjective: Beninese
Natural hazards hot, dry, dusty harmattan wind may affect north from December to March
Natural resources small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber
Net migration rate 0.67 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Political parties and leaders Alliance of Progress Forces or AFP; African Movement for Democracy and Progress or MADEP [Sefou FAGBOHOUN]; Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI]; Impulse for Progress and Democracy or IPD; Key Force or FC; Movement for Development and Solidarity or MDS; Movement for Development by the Culture-Salute Party-Congress of People for Progress Alliance or Alliance MDC-PS-CPP; New Alliance or NA; Rally for Democracy and Progress or RDP; Renaissance Party du Benin or RB [Nicephore SOGLO]; The Star Alliance (Alliance E'toile) [Sacca LAFIA]; Union of Tomorrow's Benin or UBF [Bruno AMOUSSOU]

note: approximately 20 additional minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders NA
Population 7,862,944

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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)
Population below poverty line 33% (2001 est.)
Population growth rate 2.73% (2006 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 4 (2000)
Railways total: 578 km

narrow gauge: 578 km 1.000-m gauge (2005)
Religions indigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 20%
Sex ratio at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: NA

domestic: fair system of open-wire, microwave radio relay, and cellular connections

international: country code - 229; satellite earth station - 7 (Intelsat-Atlantic Ocean); fiber optic submarine cable (SAT-3/WASC) provides connectivity to Europe and Asia
Telephones - main lines in use 76,300 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular 386,700 (2005)
Television broadcast stations 1 (2001)
Terrain mostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains
Total fertility rate 5.2 children born/woman (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate NA%
Waterways 150 km (on River Niger along northern border) (2005)
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