Africa: Benin

About Benin

Dahomey gained its independence from France in 1960; the name was changed to Benin in 1975. From 1974 to 1989 the country was a socialist state; free elections were reestablished in 1991.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Porto-Novo is the official cap
Population: 6,590,782
Percent below poverty: 37.2% (1999 est.)
Language: French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)
Date of independence: 1 August 1960 (from France)
Form of government: republic under multiparty democrati
Title of Leader: President
Natural Resources: small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber
Environmental Issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification
Agricultural Products: corn, sorghum, cassava (tapioca), yams, beans, rice, cotton, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, livestock
Imports: foodstuffs, tobacco, petroleum products, capital goods
Exports: cotton, crude oil, palm products, cocoa
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: France 38%, China 16%, UK 9%, Cote d'Ivoire 5% (1999)
EXPORTS: Brazil 14%, Libya 5%, Indonesia 4%, Italy 4% (1999)


Benin Headlines

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