macrohistory & world report

Republic of Benin

Map of Benin

Benin (capital Porto-Novo)
between its neighboring African
states,Togo and Nigeria


World Factbook as of November 2014: "The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade... In order to raise growth, Benin plans to attract more foreign investment, place more emphasis on tourism, facilitate the development of new food processing systems and agricultural products, and encourage new information and communication technology... Cotton, a key export, suffered from flooding in 2010-11, but high prices supported export earnings. The government agreed to a 25% increase in civil servant salaries in 2011, following a series of strikes, increasing pressure on the national budget. Benin has appealed for international assistance to mitigate piracy against commercial shipping in its territory."

Economic growth
2011: 3.8%
2010: 2.6%
2009: 2.7%

Labor force in agriculture

Textiles, food processing, construction materials, cement

Export commodities
Cotton, cashews, shea butter, textiles, palm products, seafood

Export partners
2009: India 26.4%, China 21.4%, Niger 6.5%, Nigeria 5.6%, Indonesia 4.4%

Oil exports/imports per day
2009: exports 10,840, imports 33,410

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 82nd among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal).

Health expenditures
2009: 4.2% of GDP


Living in an urban area
2010: 42%
2008: 41%

Ethnic groups
2002 census: Fon and related 39.2%, Adja and related 15.2%, Yoruba and related 12.3%, Bariba and related 9.2%, Peulh and related 7%, Ottamari and related 6.1%, Yoa-Lokpa and related 4%, Dendi and related 2.5%, other 1.6% (includes Europeans), unspecified 2.9%

2002 census: Catholic 27.1%, Muslim 24.4%, Vodoun 17.3%, Protestant 10.4% (Celestial 5%, Methodist 3.2%, other Protestant 2.2%), other Christian 5.3%, other 15.5%


Western Africa just west of Nigeria. A little smaller than Pennsylvania, with a 100 kilometer strip bordering the ocean.


Independence from France: 1960. Military governments to 1972, followed by power by Marxist-Leninists, to 1989. Democratic elections in 1991. Multi-party rule with electoral politics and a unicameral legislature.


Benin was the prominent West African kingdom of Dahome, from the 1400s. It became a French Colony in 1872 and acquired independence in 1960, followed by a succession of military governments.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.