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Benin (2007)

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Benin 2007 year

Administrative divisions 12 departments; Alibori, Atakora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Kouffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou
Age structure 0-14 years: 43.9% (male 1,788,248/female 1,754,940)

15-64 years: 53.7% (male 2,138,649/female 2,203,291)

65 years and over: 2.4% (male 77,844/female 115,342) (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products cotton, corn, cassava (tapioca), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts, cashews; livestock
Airports 5 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways total: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
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 (2007)
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. KEREKOU stepped down at the end of his second term in 2006 and was succeeded by Thomas YAYI Boni, a political outsider and independent.
Birth rate 38.1 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $786 million

expenditures: $1.024 billion (2006 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 adopted by referendum 2 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 11.94 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $1.6 billion (2000)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Gayleatha B. BROWN

embassy: Rue Caporal Bernard Anani, Cotonou

mailing address: 01 B. P. 2012, Cotonou

telephone: [229] 21-30-06-50

FAX: [229] 21-30-06-70
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 two villages remain in dispute along the border with Burkina Faso; Benin accused Burkina Faso of moving boundary pillars; much of Benin-Niger boundary, including tripoint with Nigeria, remains undemarcated; in 2005, Nigeria ceded thirteen villages to Benin, but border relations remain strained by rival gang clashes; Benin and Togo announced plans in 2006 to construct a joint hydroelectric dam on the Mona River at the southern end of the border
Economic aid - recipient $349.1 million (2005)
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. Specific projects to improve the business climate by reforms to the land tenure system, the commercial justice system, and the financial sector were included in Benin's $307 million Millennium Challenge Account grant signed in February 2006. 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 587 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 595 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production 105 million kWh (2005)
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, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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% (2002 census)
Exchange rates Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003), 696.99 (2002)
Executive branch chief of state: President Thomas YAYI Boni (since 6 April 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

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

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

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

election results: Thomas YAYI Boni elected president; percent of vote - Thomas YAYI Boni 74.5%, Adrien HOUNGBEDJI 25.5%
Exports 0 kWh (2005)
Exports $605 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports NA bbl/day
Exports - commodities cotton, cashews, shea butter, textiles, palm products, seafood
Exports - partners China 20.9%, Indonesia 7.7%, India 7%, Netherlands 6.2%, Niger 5.7%, Togo 4.6%, Nigeria 4.3% (2006)
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: 32.8%

industry: 13.7%

services: 53.5% (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 4% (2006 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% (2003)
Illicit drugs transshipment point used by Nigerian traffickers for narcotics destined for Western Europe; vulnerable to money laundering due to poorly enforced financial regulations
Imports 595 million kWh (2005)
Imports $839 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports NA bbl/day
Imports - commodities foodstuffs, capital goods, petroleum products
Imports - partners China 46.6%, France 7.5%, Thailand 6% (2006)
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: 77.85 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 82.32 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 73.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 3.8% (2006 est.)
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 (1996)
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 31 March 2007 (next to be held by March 2011)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FCBE 35, ADD 20, PRD 10, other and independents 18
Life expectancy at birth total population: 53.44 years

male: 52.28 years

female: 54.63 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 34.7%

male: 47.9%

female: 23.3% (2002 census)
Location Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin, between Nigeria and Togo
Map references Africa
Maritime claims territorial sea: 200 nm
Military branches Benin Armed Forces: Ground Forces Command, Benin Navy, Benin People's Air Force (Force Aerienne Populaire de Benin, FAPB) (2007)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 1.7% (2006)
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 0.58 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Political parties and leaders Alliance for Dynamic Democracy or ADD [Nicephore SOGLO]; Alliance of Progress Forces or AFP; African Movement for Democracy and Progress or MADEP [Sefou FAGBOHOUN]; Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI]; Force Cowrie for an Emerging Benin or FCBE; 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; 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 8,078,314

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 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line 33% (2001 est.)
Population growth rate 2.674% (2007 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 4 (2000)
Railways total: 758 km

narrow gauge: 758 km 1.000-m gauge (2006)
Religions Christian 42.8% (Catholic 27.1%, Celestial 5%, Methodist 3.2%, other Protestant 2.2%, other 5.3%), Muslim 24.4%, Vodoun 17.3%, other 15.5% (2002 census)
Sex ratio at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.019 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.971 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.675 male(s)/female

total population: 0.983 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: inadequate; fixed-line network is almost saturated with fixed-line teledensity stuck at a meager 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density of roughly 10 per 100 persons

domestic: fair system of open-wire, microwave radio relay, and cellular connections; four mobile-cellular providers

international: country code - 229; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and Asia; satellite earth station - 7 (Intelsat-Atlantic Ocean) (2007)
Telephones - main lines in use 76,300 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular 750,000 (2005)
Television broadcast stations 1 (2001)
Terrain mostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains
Total fertility rate 5.08 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate NA%
Waterways 150 km (on River Niger along northern border) (2005)
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