Capital - Porto Novo


Currency - CFA Franc



Land
  • area of 112,622 sq km (43,484 sq mi)

Rivers and Lakes Ouémé and Couffo
    • Drain most of southern Benin
  • Mono River
    • Drains southwest
  • Niger, Sota, Mékrou, and Alibori
    • Main rivers of Benin

Climate
  • North
    • (arid) tropical wet-and-dry
    • 890mm (35 in.) of rain a year
  • South
    • Equatorial
    • 1270 mm (50 in.)of rain a year in the south
  • Both
    • Average monthly temperature
      • About 20° to 34° C (68° to 93.2° F)

Plants and Animals
  • dense tropical rainforest
    • used to cover most of Benin
    • mainly cleared
      • except near rivers
    • palms are now the main trees of the region
  • North
    • Grasslands predominant
  • Central
    • Woodlands
  • animals found
    • elephants, buffalo, antelope, panthers, monkeys, crocodiles, and wild ducks

Natural Resources
  • offshore petroleum field
    • located near Cotonou
  • iron ore, phosphates, chromium, rutile, clay, marble, diamonds, and limestone
Population
  • 5,166,735
    • A 1993 estimate
  • Growing rate of 3.7% per year
  • Density per square mile
    • About 46 persons
      • Much higher in the south
        • Where most inhabitants live
  • Main cities in Benin
    • Cotonou, Porto-Novo, Parakou (the capital), Abomey, and Natitingou
  • Main ethnic groups
    • South
      • The Fon, or Dahomeans, and the Adja
        • 66% of population
    • North
      • Bariba and Somba
        • 14% of population
    • Southeast
      • Yoruba
        • 10% of population

Language
  • Official language is French
  • Most speak an African language

Religion · Islam (15%) § Most live in the north · Christianity especially Roman Catholicism (20%) § Majority live in the south
(Cultural Institutions and Communications)
  • (State-owned) Radio and Television
    • Operated in Cotonou
    • 326,900 radio receivers, 16,350 television sets, and 15,500 telephones in use
      • In the 1980’s
  • Newspaper
    • Ehuzu
      • Formerly known as Daho-Express
      • Daily circulation of around 10,000
  • The National Library
    • Located in Porto-Novo
  • The National Museum
    • In Cotonou

Economy
  • One of the poorest countries in Africa
  • Economy dependent on agriculture

Agriculture
  • Two thirds of work in Benin
  • Mainly subsistence farming
  • Principal food crops
    • Corn, cassava, sorghum, yams, millet, cotton, coffee, peanuts, and cocoa.
  • Cattle, sheep, and goat herding predominate in the north

Forestry and Fishing
  • 4.7 million cu m of wood cut is for fuel
    • (About 166 million cu ft.)
  • 41,900 metric tons of fish caught for subsistence use
    • Small amounts of shrimp are landed on a commercial basis

Mining and Manufacturing
  • Chief mineral product is petroleum
  • Limestone produced for cement manufacturing
  • Industrial diamonds recovered for export
  • Other mineral resources undeveloped
  • Chief manufacturing activity is food processing
  • Major products
    • Palm and cottonseed oil
    • Beer
    • Baked goods
    • Cotton textiles

Energy
  • Thermal power plants
    • Provide energy along the coast
  • Ghana’s Volta River hydroelectric project
    • Most of Benin’s energy supply
  • Produces about 5 million kwh of electricity per year’
    • Kwh (or Kilowatt) is a unit of energy equal to 1000 watt hours

Transportation
  • 7450 km (4,630 mi) of roads
  • 580 km (360 mi) rail system
    • From Cotonou to Parakou