Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Benin

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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. YAYI has begun a high profile fight against corruption and has strongly promoted accelerating Benin's economic growth. (from the CIA)


Economic 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 seven 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 though the government annulled the privatization of benin's state cotton company in november 2007 after the discovery of irregularities in the bidding process. 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. an insufficient electrical supply continues to adversely affect benin's economic growth though the government recently has taken steps to increase domestic power production.

Environmental Issues

Inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification

Government Type



8,532,547 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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (july 2008 est.)


Western africa, bordering the bight of benin, between nigeria and togo


Total: 112,620 sq km land: 110,620 sq km water: 2,000 sq km

Slightly smaller than pennsylvania

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: republic of benin conventional short form: benin local long form: republique du benin local short form: benin former: dahomey


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)

Military Service

21 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; in practice, volunteers may be taken at the age of 18; both sexes are eligible for military service; conscript tour of duty - 18 months (2006)

International Disputes

In september 2007, economic community of west african states (ecowas) intervened to attempt to resolve the dispute over two villages along the benin-burkina faso border that remain from 2005 icj decision; 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 cross-border gang clashes; talks continue between benin and togo on funding the adjrala hydroelectric dam on the mona river

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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