Country Profile

Country Profile - Benin

Country Profile Of Benin

President: Yayi Boni

Prime Minister: Pascal Koupaki

Capital: Porto-Novo

Land area: 110.619 kilometers squared

Population:  10,160,556; growth-rate 2.8%; birth-rate 36.61/1000; infant mortality 57.09/1000; life expectancy 61.07

Monetary unit: CFA Franc

Languages: French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in the south)

Ethnicity:  Fon and related 39.2%, Yoruba and related 12.3%, Bariba and related 9.2%, Peulh and related 7% Ottamari and related 4%, Dendi and related 2.5%, other 1.6% and unspecified 2.9%.

Literacy rate: 42.4%

Economic summary: GDP/PPP $16.65 billion, real growth 5%, inflation 2.7%. Exports: $1.108 billion and imports $1.835 billion.

Agriculture: cotton, corn, cassava, yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts and livestock. Natural resources: small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber.

 

Geography

This West African nation on the Gulf of Guinea, between Togo on the west and Nigeria on the east, is about the size of Tennessee. It is bounded by Burkina Faso and Niger on the north. The land consists of a narrow coastal strip that rises to a swampy, forested plateau and then to highlands in the north. A hot and humid climate blankets the entire country.

Government

Republic under a multiparty democratic rule.

History

Benin was the seat of one of the great medieval African kingdoms called Dahomey. Europeans began arriving in the area in the 18th century, as the kingdom of Dahomey was expanding its territory. The Portuguese, the French, and the Dutch established trading posts along the coast (Porto-Novo, Ouidah, Cotonou), and traded weapons for slaves. Slave trade ended in 1848. Then, the French signed treaties with Kings of Abomey (Guézo, Toffa, Glèlè) to establish French protectorates in the main cities and ports. However, King Behanzin fought the French influence, which cost him deportation to Martinique.

In 1892 Dahomey became a French protectorate and part of French West Africa in 1904. Expansion continued to the North (kingdoms of Parakou, Nikki, Kandi), up to the border with former Upper Volta. On 4 December 1958, it became the République du Dahomey, self-governing within the French community, and on 1 August 1960, the Republic of Dahomey gained full independence from France. The country was renamed Benin in 1975.

Between 1960 and 1972, a succession of military coups brought about many changes of government. The last of these brought to power Major Mathieu Kérékou as the head of a regime professing strict Marxist-Leninist principles.

 


 

The Parti de la Révolution Populaire Béninoise (Revolutionary Party of the People of Benin, PRPB) remained in complete power until the beginning of the 1990s.

Benin was the first African country to successfully move from dictatorship to a pluralistic political system. In the second round of National Assembly elections held in March 1995, the Parti de la Renaissance du Benin (PRB), was the largest single party but lacked an overall majority. The success of a party, Parti de la Révolution Populaire Béninoise (PRPB), formed by supporters of ex-president Kérékou, who had officially retired from active politics, encouraged him to stand successfully at both the 1996 and 2001 presidential elections.

In 2010, floods destroyed 55,000 homes, killing tens of thousands of livestock, and displaced 680,000 people.  A total number of 46 fatalities was recorded.

After two postponements, presidential elections were held on March 13, 2011. According to Benin's constitutional court, incumbent Yayi Boni won 53% of the vote. His main challenger, Adrien Houngbedji, disputed the results, alleging fraud and claiming victory for himself. Parliamentary elections followed in April, 2011, and established a new government, including Pascal Koupaki as prime minister, Nassirou Bako Arifari as foreign minister, Benoît Assouan Degla as interior minister, and Adidjatou Mathys as finance minister; Issifou Kogui N'Douro remained as defense minister.

In August 2013, President Boni fired his entire cabinet, including Prime Minister Pascal Koupaki. Part of the reason Boni dismissed his government was due to the allegations that some of them had been linked to Patrice Talon, a Benin businessman accused of trying to poison him.

Boni replaced every member of his government except for the position of prime minister. A statement from the office of the president said that Boni opted not to have a prime minister at this time. Boni and former Prime Minister Koupaki had a history of disagreements.

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  • Since independence, Benin’s regular and developmental budgets have been dependent on external support, primarily from France and international organizations. This support has rendered a little less painful the formidable economic stagnation and low standard of living of the overwhelming majority of the population.
  • The regime that came to power in a 1972 coup attempted from 1975 to restructure the economy more or less along socialist principles and to disengage from dependence on France. Most sectors of the economy were nationalized or otherwise turned over to government control, and economic relations were established with the Soviet Union.

There are abundant Tourist Attractions in Benin where the travelers can visit and explore the country.

The tourists can access the country by flights and get around the Tourist Attractions in Benin. Tours to Benin can be really interesting for the visitors to the country. The country has bouquet of small beaches. In the southern end of the country there are some lagoons consisting of the Pile villages. Benin Tours would be complimented with sightseeing of the waterfalls, hill and the grasslands of the country. Benin tourist destinations are spread all across the country.

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