Republic of Benin -
former name till 1975: Dahomey - is located in West Africa
and covers an area of 112,622 Sq. km.
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.
for a full-blown-up
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:
1, 1960 -
August 1 - Constitution:
December 1990. - Capital city: Porto-Novo.
offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber, iron-ore .
production: corn, sorghum, cassava, yams, beans, rice, cotton, palm oil,
peanuts; poultry, livestock.
textiles, cigarettes; beverages, food; construction materials, petroleum. Industrial
production growth rate: 3%.
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.
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.)
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.
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
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.
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.
The national international airport of Cotonou is serviced by many international
West African Airways.
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.
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.