Brief information

General Information

Official Name: The Republic of Benin
Short Name: BJ
Continent: Africa


Calling Code: +229
Capital City: Porto-Novo
Domain: .bj


Area(Sqre/KM): 112760 SqKM
Population: About 12123200 as of 2023
Population Density: 107.51
Population By Religion:


Nationality: Beninese


Currency: Franc
Latitude: 9.30769
Longitude: 2.315834


Lanugages: French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)

Intesting facts

Here are some interesting facts about Benin:

  1. Benin is a West African country bordered by Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

  2. Benin was once a powerful empire called the Kingdom of Dahomey, which existed from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

  3. The official language of Benin is French, but many other languages are spoken throughout the country, including Fon, Yoruba, and Bariba.

  4. The largest city and economic capital of Benin is Cotonou, which is also the country's main port.

  5. The national sport of Benin is soccer, and the national team is called the Squirrels.

  6. The Vodun (or voodoo) religion, which originated in Benin, is still practiced by many people in the country today.

  7. The Benin Bronze, a collection of metal plaques and sculptures created by the Kingdom of Benin, is considered a masterpiece of African art and can be found in museums around the world.

  8. The Pendjari National Park, located in the north of Benin, is home to many species of wildlife, including elephants, lions, and hippos.

  9. Benin is known for its music, including the traditional rhythms of the Batá and the modern Afro-Cuban sounds of Gangbé Brass Band.

  10. The cuisine of Benin is influenced by its West African roots and includes dishes such as rice and beans, stews, and grilled fish or meat.

About Benin

Benin, officially known as the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, Burkina Faso to the northwest, and Niger to the northeast. It was formerly known as Dahomey, and gained independence from France in 1960. The capital city is Porto-Novo, but the largest city and economic center is Cotonou. Benin is known for its rich culture and history, as well as its diverse ecosystems, including the lush rainforests in the south, the savannas in the north, and the wetlands in the center. The official language is French, and the country has a population of approximately 12 million people.


Some of the top cities in Benin are:

  1. Cotonou - the largest city and economic capital of Benin, known for its lively markets and nightlife, as well as its beaches.

  2. Porto-Novo - the official capital of Benin, known for its colonial architecture and historical sites.

  3. Parakou - the second-largest city in Benin, known for its cultural diversity and as a transportation hub.

  4. Abomey - a historical city known for its royal palaces and museum of Dahomey history.

  5. Djougou - a major agricultural center and trading hub in northern Benin.

  6. Bohicon - a city known for its vibrant markets and as a gateway to the Tata Somba traditional houses.

  7. Lokossa - a city on the coast known for its fishing industry and markets.

  8. Ouidah - a historical city known for its role in the transatlantic slave trade and for its voodoo festival.

  9. Natitingou - a city in northern Benin known for its proximity to the Atakora Mountains and as a starting point for trekking and visiting traditional villages.

  10. Kandi - a city known for its cotton production and as a gateway to the Pendjari National Park.



Benin has a rich and complex history, dating back to ancient times. The region that is now Benin was home to several pre-colonial kingdoms, including the Dahomey Kingdom, which was known for its military prowess and the export of slaves to the Americas. In the late 19th century, the French colonized the region and established a colony called French Dahomey. Benin gained independence from France in 1960 and has since had a turbulent political history, with a series of coups and changes in government. Today, Benin is a democratic republic, with a growing economy and a diverse cultural heritage.



Benin is a West African country located in the Gulf of Guinea. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, Burkina Faso to the north-west, and Niger to the north-east. The country has a total area of approximately 114,763 square kilometers and is divided into four main regions: the low sandy coastal plain, the hilly southern region, the central plateau, and the northern plains. The country is home to several major rivers, including the Niger, the Sota, and the Oueme, which provide water for irrigation and transportation. The country also has a number of important wildlife reserves, including Pendjari National Park, which is home to lions, elephants, and baboons. The climate in Benin is tropical, with a dry season from December to April and a rainy season from May to November.


Environment and Weather:

Benin has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The wet season lasts from May to October and is characterized by high temperatures and heavy rainfall, while the dry season from November to April is cooler and drier. The country's coastal region has a humid climate and experiences more rainfall than the northern regions. The Harmattan wind, a dry and dusty trade wind from the Sahara, blows from December to March and can cause temperatures to drop.

Benin's environment is diverse and includes savannas, forests, wetlands, and coastal ecosystems. The country's wildlife includes elephants, lions, leopards, antelopes, and primates, among others. However, deforestation, overgrazing, and poaching have taken a toll on the country's biodiversity. In recent years, the government has taken steps to protect the environment, including establishing protected areas and promoting sustainable agriculture practices.



Benin has a population of approximately 12.1 million people, according to the World Bank data from 2020. The population is made up of more than 60 different ethnic groups, with the largest being the Fon and the Yoruba. The official language is French, although many people also speak indigenous languages such as Fon, Yoruba, and Bariba.

Benin is a youthful nation, with a median age of 18 years old. The population growth rate is around 2.7%, which is considered high. The majority of the population lives in rural areas, with around 44% living in urban areas. The largest city in Benin is Cotonou, which is also the economic capital of the country.


Art and Culture:

Benin has a rich and diverse culture that draws on its historical connections with West African kingdoms and the French colonial period. Traditional music, dance, and art forms continue to be important parts of daily life in many parts of the country.

One of the most famous aspects of Benin's culture is its traditional voodoo religion, which is practiced by many people in the country. Voodoo is a complex belief system that includes ancestor worship, spirit possession, and ritual sacrifice. Despite its negative portrayal in popular culture, voodoo is an important part of Benin's cultural heritage and is recognized as an official religion by the government.

Benin is also known for its traditional textiles, particularly the brightly colored and patterned fabrics known as "African wax print." These fabrics are produced using a method of printing wax onto the fabric before dying it, resulting in a colorful and distinctive pattern.

In terms of dance, Benin has a rich tradition of different styles and performances. One of the most well-known is the "Zangbeto," which is performed by members of the voodoo religion wearing colorful costumes and wooden masks.

Benin also has a rich literary tradition, with many notable authors and poets. Perhaps the most famous is Olympe Bhêly-Quenum, who is known for his novels exploring the complexities of postcolonial identity and politics in Africa. Other notable writers include Bernard Dadié, Paul Hazoumé, and Aké Loba.



Benin has made significant progress in the education sector in recent years, with an overall increase in enrollment rates and literacy rates. The government has made education a priority and has implemented a number of policies to improve access and quality.

Primary education is free and compulsory for all children aged 6 to 11 years old, and the government has implemented various programs to provide education to rural and disadvantaged areas. The literacy rate in Benin is estimated to be around 44%, with higher rates in urban areas.

Benin has several universities, including the University of Abomey-Calavi, the largest and oldest university in the country, and the University of Parakou. However, the country faces challenges in providing quality higher education and retaining qualified professors.


Business and Economy:

Benin is a developing country with an economy heavily dependent on agriculture, particularly subsistence agriculture. It is also a significant exporter of cotton and palm oil. Other industries in Benin include textiles, food processing, chemicals, and construction. Benin has also made progress in developing its tourism industry, particularly ecotourism, due to its diverse wildlife and national parks.

The country has recently made significant progress in improving its business climate and attracting foreign investment. In 2018, Benin launched a five-year economic development plan aimed at diversifying the economy, improving infrastructure, and increasing private sector investment. The government has also been implementing various reforms to improve the ease of doing business, such as streamlining procedures for starting a business, obtaining permits, and paying taxes.

Despite these efforts, poverty remains a significant issue in Benin, with over a third of the population living below the poverty line. The informal sector accounts for a significant share of employment in the country, with many people working in subsistence agriculture or small-scale trading. The government has implemented various social programs aimed at reducing poverty and improving living standards, particularly in rural areas.



Agriculture is a major sector of the economy in Benin, employing over 70% of the labor force and contributing around 36% of GDP. The main crops grown in Benin are cotton, maize, cassava, yams, beans, and rice. The country has a significant amount of arable land, but much of it is not being used to its full potential. The government has been working to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the agricultural sector through a range of policies and programs.

One of the main challenges facing the agricultural sector in Benin is the lack of modern technology and infrastructure. Many farmers still rely on traditional farming methods, and transportation and storage facilities are often inadequate. The government has been working to address these issues by investing in new technologies and improving infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.

In addition to traditional crops, there is also growing interest in the production of cash crops such as pineapple, mango, and cashew nuts, which have good export potential. The government has been encouraging the development of these sectors through various policies and incentives.


Foods and Fruits:

Benin has a rich culinary tradition that reflects its diverse ethnic groups and cultural influences. The country is known for its flavorful dishes and use of local ingredients such as corn, yams, cassava, plantains, and peanuts.

One popular dish is "poulet bicyclette," which is grilled chicken marinated in a spicy sauce and served with a side of spicy tomato sauce and grilled plantains. Another favorite is "akassa," which is a type of cornmeal porridge that is typically served with a spicy sauce made from tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers.

Benin is also known for its variety of tropical fruits such as mangoes, pineapples, papayas, bananas, and coconuts. These fruits are often used in desserts and juices.

In addition, "dolo" is a popular traditional beer made from millet or sorghum that is brewed by women in villages across the country. It is usually served in calabash gourds and enjoyed during festivals and other social gatherings.



The health sector in Benin has undergone significant development over the years, although it still faces various challenges. The government has implemented several initiatives to improve health services and infrastructure, including the creation of a national health policy and the establishment of health centers in rural areas.

However, despite these efforts, Benin still faces major health challenges, including high infant and maternal mortality rates, prevalence of communicable diseases such as malaria, and limited access to essential health services for some segments of the population.


Natural Resources:

Benin is a resource-rich country with various natural resources. Some of the important natural resources of Benin are:

  1. Agricultural Land: Benin has around 11.2 million hectares of arable land, which is suitable for agriculture. Cotton, maize, sorghum, cassava, yam, and beans are some of the major crops grown in the country.

  2. Minerals: Benin has some mineral resources like limestone, marble, clay, and granite, but they are not yet fully exploited.

  3. Oil and Gas: Benin has potential oil and gas reserves, but these resources are yet to be fully exploited.

  4. Forests: Benin has forests covering around 38% of its land area. These forests are home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, including the African elephant, buffalo, and antelope.

  5. Water Resources: Benin has several rivers, including the Niger and Mono Rivers, which provide a source of water for irrigation and hydropower.

  6. Fisheries: Benin has a rich fishing industry, thanks to the numerous lakes and rivers found in the country.

  7. Wildlife: Benin has a rich biodiversity, with several wildlife reserves and national parks, which are home to many species of animals, including primates, elephants, and lions.


Forest and Biodiversity:

Benin has a diverse range of ecosystems and is home to a variety of wildlife species. The country's forests cover about 31% of its land area and are important for the conservation of biodiversity. The Pendjari National Park in northern Benin is one of the last remaining intact ecosystems in West Africa and is home to a large population of elephants, lions, buffalo, and antelopes, as well as several bird species.

The forests of Benin also provide important ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, soil conservation, and water regulation. However, the country's forests are under threat from deforestation, which is mainly driven by agricultural expansion and logging.

Benin is also known for its biodiversity-rich wetlands, such as the Oueme River floodplain and the coastal lagoons. These wetlands support a variety of fish species, reptiles, birds, and mammals. However, like the forests, the wetlands of Benin are under threat from human activities, including fishing, hunting, and agricultural expansion.

Efforts have been made to protect Benin's forests and wetlands, including the establishment of several protected areas and the implementation of sustainable land-use practices. The government of Benin has also worked with international organizations and donors to develop policies and programs aimed at promoting biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.


Mountains and Hills:

Benin, a country in West Africa, has a relatively flat terrain, with its highest point, Mont Sokbaro, rising only to 658 meters (2,159 feet) above sea level. The Atakora Mountains, located in the northwest of the country, form a natural boundary with neighboring Togo. The highest peaks in this range include Mont Sokbaro, Mont Tanekas and Mont Agou.

In central Benin, the Oueme River flows through the landscape, before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. The Pendjari River and Niger River also pass through the country, providing fertile lands for agriculture.

Apart from these mountain ranges and rivers, Benin is mostly flat, with the southern part of the country dominated by wetlands, mangrove forests, and lagoons.


Rivers and Sea:

Benin is a West African country bordered by the Gulf of Guinea to the south. The major rivers of Benin include the Niger River, which forms the border with neighboring Niger to the north, and the Oueme River, which flows southwards to empty into the Atlantic Ocean. The Mono River is another significant river in Benin, flowing through the western part of the country and serving as a border with Togo. The coastal areas of Benin along the Gulf of Guinea have several lagoons and estuaries, including Lake Nokoué and Porto-Novo Lagoon. The waters around the coast of Benin are rich in marine life and support fishing activities.


Hospitality and Tourism:

Benin has a rich cultural heritage and offers many tourist attractions, including wildlife parks, museums, and ancient cultural sites. The country is particularly known for its traditional arts and crafts, such as woodcarving, pottery, weaving, and beadwork. The following are some of the popular tourist destinations in Benin:

  1. Ouidah: Known as the "Voodoo capital of the world," Ouidah is a coastal town famous for its rich history, culture, and traditions. The town is home to several voodoo shrines and temples, including the Temple of Pythons, which houses hundreds of sacred snakes.

  2. Abomey: Located in central Benin, Abomey is the former capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is known for its historical sites, including the Royal Palace of Abomey, which was the center of the Dahomey kingdom and now serves as a museum.

  3. Pendjari National Park: Located in the northern part of the country, Pendjari National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, baboons, and more than 400 species of birds.

  4. Grand-Popo: A picturesque coastal town with pristine beaches, Grand-Popo is a popular tourist destination for those seeking sun, sand, and sea. Visitors can also explore the nearby mangrove forests and take a boat tour of the Mono River.

  5. Porto-Novo: The official capital of Benin, Porto-Novo is a cultural hub known for its museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks, including the Brazilian Quarter, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Top Destinations:

Benin is home to several notable tourist attractions, ranging from historical sites to natural reserves. Here are some of the top destinations in Benin:

  1. Abomey Historical Museum: This museum is located in the city of Abomey and is dedicated to the history and culture of the Fon people. It houses artifacts and displays related to the Dahomey Kingdom, which was an important regional power from the 17th to the 19th century.

  2. Pendjari National Park: This park is located in the northern part of Benin and covers an area of over 2,700 square kilometers. It is home to a wide range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, cheetahs, and baboons.

  3. Ouidah: This coastal city was once an important center for the slave trade and is now home to several historical sites related to that period. These include the Door of No Return, a monument commemorating the slave trade, and the Temple of Pythons, which is home to dozens of pythons.

  4. Grand Popo: This seaside town is known for its beautiful beaches and relaxed atmosphere. It is a popular destination for tourists looking to unwind and enjoy the scenery.

  5. Porto-Novo: This city is the capital of Benin and is known for its colorful architecture and vibrant markets. It is also home to several important cultural institutions, including the Ethnographic Museum and the Institute of Higher Learning in Arts and Culture.

  6. Lake Ahémé: This lake is located in the south of Benin and is an important fishing ground. It is also home to several species of waterfowl and is a popular spot for birdwatching.

  7. Ganvie: This village is located on stilts in the middle of Lake Nokoué and is often referred to as the "Venice of Africa." It is home to over 20,000 people and is known for its unique way of life.

  8. Taneka Village: This village is located in the Atakora Mountains and is known for its traditional mud houses and pottery. It is also home to several sacred sites and is a popular destination for tourists interested in traditional African culture.


Top Universities:

Benin has a number of universities and higher education institutions. Here are some of the top universities in Benin:

  1. University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC): The University of Abomey-Calavi is the largest and oldest university in Benin. It was founded in 1970 and has faculties in fields such as law, economics, science, arts, and social sciences.

  2. National University of Benin (UNB): The National University of Benin was established in 1995 and is a private institution. It offers degrees in fields such as law, business, engineering, and computer science.

  3. University of Parakou (UP): The University of Parakou was founded in 2001 and is located in the city of Parakou. It has faculties in fields such as science, economics, and law.

  4. University of Abomey (UACO): The University of Abomey was founded in 2004 and is located in the city of Abomey. It has faculties in fields such as science, arts, and humanities.

  5. University of Science and Technology of Benin (USTB): The University of Science and Technology of Benin was established in 2001 and is located in Cotonou. It has faculties in fields such as engineering, science, and technology.


National Days:

Benin celebrates several national days and holidays throughout the year, some of which include:

  1. Independence Day: This is celebrated on August 1st every year to commemorate the country's independence from France in 1960.

  2. National Heroes Day: This day is observed on January 10th every year to celebrate the country's national heroes and heroines who have contributed significantly to the development of the nation.

  3. Labour Day: This is celebrated on May 1st every year to honor the contribution of workers and the labor movement towards the development of the country.

  4. National Women's Day: This day is observed on October 20th every year to celebrate the role of women in the country's development.

  5. Armed Forces Day: This is celebrated on November 30th every year to honor the contribution of the armed forces in protecting the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

  6. Christmas: This is a major religious holiday celebrated by Christians in Benin on December 25th every year.


Popular Leaders:

Benin has had several popular leaders throughout its history, including:

  1. Mathieu Kerekou - He was a former military officer who became the president of Benin in 1972 through a military coup. He ruled for a total of 19 years before he was forced to adopt democratic reforms in the early 1990s. He was also known for promoting voodoo as a national religion.

  2. Patrice Talon - He is the current president of Benin, having been elected in 2016. Talon is a successful businessman who made his fortune in the cotton industry. He is known for his efforts to modernize Benin's economy and reduce corruption.

  3. Hubert Maga - He was the first president of independent Benin, serving from 1960 to 1963. He was a leading figure in the nationalist movement that fought for Benin's independence from France.

  4. Nicephore Soglo - He was the president of Benin from 1991 to 1996. Soglo was a prominent opposition leader during Kerekou's regime and was instrumental in pushing for democratic reforms in the country. He is also known for his efforts to improve Benin's economy and infrastructure.

  5. Thomas Boni Yayi - He served as the president of Benin from 2006 to 2016. Yayi was a former banker and businessman who focused on improving Benin's economy and infrastructure during his tenure. He also played a key role in promoting regional integration in West Africa.



Benin has produced several notable scientists in different fields. Here are some of the notable scientists of Benin:

  1. Robert Guei: He is a physicist and a mathematician. He was born in Benin in 1941 and educated in France. He has worked on research projects in various countries and was awarded the National Order of Benin in 1986.

  2. Jean Hountondji: He is a philosopher, mathematician, and physicist. He was born in Benin in 1942 and educated in France. He is well known for his work on African philosophy.

  3. Michel Adandé: He is a mathematician and a computer scientist. He was born in Benin in 1951 and educated in France. He has worked in various countries, including the United States, and is known for his work on computer algorithms.

  4. Lucien Gbènoukpo: He is a physicist and mathematician. He was born in Benin in 1943 and educated in France. He has worked on research projects in various countries and is known for his work on differential equations.

  5. Dominique Zinkpè: He is an artist, but also a scientist. He was born in Benin in 1969 and has a PhD in biochemistry. He is known for his artwork that explores the intersection of art and science.


Writers and Poets:

Benin has a rich literary tradition, with many notable writers and poets. Here are a few examples:

  1. Olympe Bhêly-Quenum: A prolific writer and essayist, Bhêly-Quenum is known for his novels that explore the complexities of African identity and the impact of colonialism. His most famous works include "Ségou," "Le Chant du lac," and "Un Piège sans fin."

  2. Paul Hazoumé: Hazoumé was a prominent political figure in Benin, but he was also a talented writer. His most famous work is the novel "Doguicimi," which tells the story of a young girl's journey to adulthood in pre-colonial Benin.

  3. Josué Guébo: A poet and novelist, Guébo is known for his works that explore themes of love, loss, and the human condition. His most famous works include "Larmes d'or" and "La Fiancée de Captain Allendé."

  4. Florent Couao-Zotti: A writer, journalist, and filmmaker, Couao-Zotti is known for his crime novels that explore the seedy underbelly of West African cities. His most famous works include "Zaïre, Cobalt et diamants" and "Le Pagne noir."

  5. Jean Pliya: A playwright and novelist, Pliya is known for his works that blend traditional African storytelling with modern themes and techniques. His most famous works include "Le Silence de la forêt" and "La Rue des tambours."