Dialing code +229
ISO 2 code BJ
ISO 3 code BEN
Capital Porto-Novo
Main Language French
Currency Franc (XOF)
GDP $12.8 billion 136th
Population 9,056,010 90th


Continent Africa
Location Western Africa bordering the Bight of Benin between Nigeria and Togo
Land 112,620 km2 102nd
Terrain Mostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains
Climate Tropical; hot humid in south; semiarid in north
Natural Hazards Mostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains
Note: Sandbanks create difficult access to a coast with no natural harbors river mouths or islands

Neighbouring Countries

Burkina Faso Niger Nigeria Togo


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.
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Life Expectancy 59.0 years 169th
Median Age 17.2 years 193rd
Birth Rate 39.22 births/1,000 population 19th
Death Rate 9.45 births/1,000 population 71st
Sex Ratio 0.7 male(s)/female 153rd
Literacy 34.7% 201st

9.1 million


Roadways 16000 km 120th
Railways 578 km 112th
Airports 5 171st
Waterways 150 km 100th
Heliports None
Airports paved 1 159th


Currency Franc (XOF)
GDP $12.8 billion 136th
GDP per capita (PPP) $1500 176th