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About Benin

Landkarte Benin neu

Bénin Republic, a general outline

The Republic of Bénin is a narrow strip of land that stretches from south to north approximately 700km. Its neighboring countries, named from the east counter clockwise, are Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Togo. Bénin's official capital is Porto Novo although the effective one is Cotonou with its big harbor and airport. Other important cities are Abomey, Kandi, Natitingou, and Parakou. The population was estimated to 8.4 million in the year 2005 on an area of 112.622 sq.km.

On August 1, 1960 the country reached independence from French colonialism but spent the following years under military dictatorship with changing heads of state. October of 1972, Mathieu Kerekou took power to lead the country to a socialist society. Under the leadership of Mathieu Kerekou, the country’s name was changed from Dahomey to Bénin in the year 1975. February of 1991 the first free election took place, which elected Nicéphone Soglo to power. In February 1991, the first free election gave victory to Nicéphore Soglo and under his leadership Bénin emerged as one of the few stable countries with a slow but steady economic growth. However, spring of 1996 new elections reelect former ruler Kerekou. Since Dr. Yayi Bonu was elected President in March 2006, there is the sense of a new era about to dawn. 10 years later in 2016, Patrice Talon was elected president.

The population is made up of about 20 socio-cultural groups and the official language is French but one of the most widely spoken African languages is Fon. Their religious belief comprise of 64% traditional (voodoo, etc.), 17% Christianity (mainly Roman Catholics), and 15% Muslims.

Due to the country lack of mineral recourses the economy is completely dependent on agriculture (corn, cassava, beans, yam, millet, palm oil, groundnut, cotton, kapoc, tobacco, cashewnut) and handcraft which makes use of the local raw materials. This is only one example but should in no way be considered the sole reason for the county’s slow economic growth. As for the people however, they are very disciplined and hard working which makes Bénin a reliable partner for foreign investors.

The hot and tropical climate is strongly influenced by the humid maritime trade winds and the dry continental trade winds from the Sahara, the Harmattan, which is the main cause of drought. The “dry” and “rainy” seasons is attributed to the effect of the aforementioned winds. In the South, there are two dry seasons the first of which starts in November and end in March, and the second dry season begins in mid July to mid September. Additionally, there are also two rainy seasons in the South one of which starts in April to mid July, and the second from mid September to October. In the North, there is only one dry season from November to May taking turn with one wet season from June to September.
Benin owns a great old culture.