COUNTRIES BRIEFS Newsletter ISSN 1563-4108

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Benin  Embassy in France - THE REPUBLIC OF BENIN - BRIEFS

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The Republic of Benin - former name till 1975: Dahomey - is located in West Africa and covers an area of 112,622 Sq. km.

It is a long stretch of land perpendicular to the Coast of the "Bight of Benin"; bordered on the Northwest (306 km) by Burkina ; on the North (266 km) by the Republic of Niger; on the East (773 km) by the Federal Republic of Nigeria and on the West (644 km) by the Republic of Togo.

It has 124
kilometers of coastline and stretches South to North over 672 kilometers. At 536 kilometers from the coastline, its width extends to 324 kilometers giving to the map the design of a clipped-cross.

CLICK for a full-blown-up AFRICA-MAP to see bordering countries.

Population : 6,590,782 (2000); 7,041,490 (July 2003 est.) - Population growth rate 3.03% (est. 2000); 2.95% (2003 est.)

Independence from France:
August 1, 1960 - National holiday: August 1 - Constitution: December 1990. - Capital city: Porto-Novo.

Natural resources: small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber, iron-ore .

Agriculture production: corn, sorghum, cassava, yams, beans, rice, cotton, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, livestock.

Industrial production: textiles, cigarettes; beverages, food; construction materials, petroleum. Industrial production growth rate: 3%.

The Republic of Benin can be characterized in one sentence: The land where mental energy is wasted year upon year.

Yes, in the motherland home of Voodoo, incredible amount of psychic and mental energy is wrongly used and talented, skillful hard trained people are dramatically let to rot.

This is one amongst the few African countries, which at the independence day on August 1, 1960 was "gifted" with an elite of scholars in all kind of knowledge field - in addition to a well organized civil administration managed by high class civil servants.

To these initial assets - increased year upon year with a reservoir of highly educated people - one can add the extraordinary resilience and nonstop productivity of the farmers, which fed the country, year in year out, without benefiting from any sustained support from the government. Also to be mentioned is the extraordinary resourcefulness displayed by Benenese women - in adverse and difficult circumstances - who are incomparable merchants and traders well known and recognized throughout the continent.

All these master trumps constitute, doubtless, a formidable launching pad to building and organizing a modern nation. In the contrary, the collision of harsh political individual ambitions - lacking a clear economic vision and a well defined developing strategy - drove down the country into political instability (nine coups between 1963 and 1972.)

At last, in February 1990, after a memorable National Conference, Benin opted for the multi-party system and became a barometer of democracy in Africa.

Nevertheless, the waste of energies and talent still persists. There is currently, for instance, a plethora of political parties (more than 200). None of them, even the four major ones standing out of the crowd, had devised and proposed a credible economic development strategy. Electoral argumentation used by these political parties are just appalling catalogue of day to day dubious proposals. No strategic vision and prospect are devised and proposed to the constituency.

Therefore, one cannot be surprised that the economy remains - 50 years after the independence, is underdeveloped and actually dependent first, on subsistence agriculture and on a single cash crop - cotton, and, secondly, on a booming underground economy.

Indeed, "gray economy" or underground economy accounts for almost for 75% of economic activities in Benin. Black-market (known as "Fayawo" in one of the national language) is outrageously developed with Nigeria.

For instance, there is, since four decades running, a fraudulent trading of Nigerian petroleum products that is a handicap to establishing a strong energy policy in the country.

Consequently, Benin's economy is highly dependent on and therefore vulnerable to Nigeria's authorities economic and political decisions.

Agriculture development is "archaic" and industrialization embryonic. Further to the excessive importance of the underground economy - that does not pay taxes and duties - the state of Benin is poor and has difficulty to garner revenues for the national budget.

After the negative growth of mid 1980 to 1989 - the agonizing period of the Marxist regime, the economy "recovered" to an annual growth rate in the range of 4 - 5% in 1990-95 and 5 - 5.5% in 1996-2002.

According to statistics released on January 2004 by the ministry of economy, growth rate hit 6.5% in 2003. That seems a good performance.

However, it is not enough to trigger off a sustained growth of the economy for a global take off and subsequent alleviation of rampant poverty. 70% of the skilled workforce: teachers, medical doctors, engineers etc.; is jobless or working / surviving in peculiar jobs such as car-taxi or motorcycle-taxi drivers.

- 50 years after the independence from the colonial power, it is high time to move away from political intrigues, hollow and inconsistent discourses. It is now time for Benenese citizens and political leaders alike, to devote more time and energy and skills to economic development matters.

Indeed, democratic multi-party system had been introduced by February 1990 National Conference ande December 1990 Constitution. Howerver, there is at the date of writting, on April 15, 2011, a reversing back to tracking to an insecure feature as March 13, 2011 presidential ballot has been marred with vote rigging and can be qualified as a electoral coup. Click here for more.

Click following link to read about Yayi Boni Failed to Deliverduring his first term in office.
And this one to read about : Troubles Ahead in Benin After a Controversial and Strange Presidential Ballot.

Click to contact Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum



Essential Economic Ratio and Long Term Trends of Benin's Economy
Items / Period 1981 1991 2001 2006 2010*
Average Percentage Increase
9. GNP 2.2 4.9 5.0 2.7 2.1
10. Inflation 6 8 3.8 4.2 4.7
11. Population 2.6 2.7 2.8 3.0 3.0
12. Labor force 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.9 3.2
13. Poverty 55 45 44 65 75
Source: World Bank Group's Reports - *Figures for 2010 are estimates/ average of years 2006 to 2010.

For more on the economic trend, click here. And following link for a delivery comparing GNP and Parity Purchasing Power

GNP-composition by sector

  1. agriculture: 39% (2010)

  2. industry: 11% (2010)
  3. services: 50% (2010)

1- D&B Export Guide To Benin
by D&B - Digital Delivery In PDF
2- Amazons of Black Sparta
The Women Warriors of Dahomey
by Stanley B. Alpern
3- Wives of The Leopard
Gender, Politics And Culture In The Kingdom of Dahomey / by Edna G. Bay
4- Divine Inspiration
From Benin To Bahia / by Phyllis Galembo
5- Cultural Context of Therapeutic Choice
Obstetrical Care Decisions Among The Bariba of Benin / by Carolyn Fishel Sargent

6- Trade And Traders
The Making of Cattle Market In Benin
by Paul Quartes Van Ufford
7- Contemporary Problems In Mathematical Physics
Proceedings of The International Workshop
Cotonou - Benin / October 31 - November 5
by Jan Govaerts
8- African Vodun
Art, Psychology And power
by Susan Preston
9- More News On Benin
by Yahoo!



A valid passport and a visa is required. Contact one of Benin's embassies below listed for visa deliverance procedure and delay.

Benin Embassy

2737 Cathedral Avenue, NW - Washington DC - 20008
Tel: +1 202 232 6656
Fax: +1 202 265 1996
Telex: 64155
Benin Embassy

87 Avenue Victor Hugo
Paris 75116

Tel: +33 1 45 00 98 82
Fax: +33 1 45 01 82 02
Telex: 610110
Website: Click here
Benin Consulate

Dolphin House -
16 The Broadway - Stanmore - Middlesex - HA7 4DW

Tel: +44 181 954 8800
Fax: +44 181 954 8844
Telex: 24620
Benin Embassy

58 Glebe Avenue
Ottowa - Ontario - KIS 2CR

Tel: +1 613 233 4429
Fax: +1 613 233 8952

Ambassy of Benin

5, Avenue de l'Observatoire
B-1080 Brussels

Tel: +32 2 3749192

Societe Beninoise du Tourisme
B.P. 1508 Cotonou, Benin
+229-30 05 84

The national international airport of Cotonou is serviced by many international airlines:

From Europe:Air-France, West African Airways.

From Africa: West African Airways, Air-France, Air-Senegal International, Ethiopian Airlines.

The Port Of Cotonou is a regional harbour servicing not only Benin, but also landlocked countries such as Burkina-Faso, Mali, Niger; but also Nigeria. Its has storage capacity of 300,000 square meter for a total handling of 2,000,000 metric tons. Contact: Click here.

Goods and commodities can be transshipped to the Ralways track BENIN-NIGER which links Cotonou to the Northern town of Parakou (400 km from Cotonou) where a secondd transhippment is implemented to lorries for Niger and other surrounding landlocked countries (Burkina, Mal) Click here for countries briefs.


La Fondation de l'Entrepreneurship du Bénin (FEB)
Entrepreneurship Foundation in Benin
08 BP 1155 Cotonou - Benin
Tel : +(229) 31-35-37
Fax : +(229) 31-37-26

Decommissioning Committee /

Commission Technique
de Dénationalisation (CTD)

02 Boîte Postale 8140
Cotonou 02 - Benin
Tel: +(229) 31 59 18
Fax : +(229) 30 16 60

Centre de Formalités des Entreprises (CFE)
One Stop Business Registration Office
Av. du Général de Gaulle
01 BP 31 Cotonou -Benin
Tel. : +(229) 31-07-04
Fax: +(229) 31-07-51

Click here to review funding available to rebuild power generation system

Here are listed some hotels at Cotonou: the commercial capital of the country and unique harbor; and at Parakou the commercial center of the Northern region.

Benin Marina Hotel (Sheraton)
P.O. Box 1901 Cotonou
Tel: +(229) 30-01-00
+229) 30-12-56
Telex: 511-5112

Hotel du Port Cotonou
08 P.O. Box 1133 Cotonou
Tel: +(229) 31-44-43 / 44-44/00-10
Fax: +(229) 31-43-26
Email: Click here

Telex: 5377

Hotel du Golfe Cotonou
P.O. Box 37 Cotonou
Tel: +(229) 31-44-43
Telex. 5321

Hotel de La Plage Cotonou
P.O. Box 36 Cotonou
Tel: +(229) 33-25-60
+(229) 31-25-61

Hotel de L'Union Cotonou
P.O. Box 921 Cotonou
Tel: +(229) 31-27-66
+(229) 31-55-60

Hotel Concorde Cotonou
P.O Box 1557 Cotonou
Tel: +(229) 31-55-70

Le Relais des Routiers Parakou
P.O. Box 81 Parakou - Benin
Tel: +(229) 61-04-01

Buffet Hotel OCBN
P.O. Box 10 Parakou - Benin
Tel: +(229) 61-11-09
+(229) 61-03-86

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