Benin - At a glance


At a glance

Official name Republic of Benin/République du Bénin (formerly Dahomey)

Location West Africa, bordering the part of the Atlantic Ocean known as the Bight of Benin or Gulf of Guinea Neighbouring countries Togo, Nigeria, Niger and Burkina Faso

Size 112,620km2, of which 2,000km2 is taken up by water

Climate Tropical: high humidity and rainfall in south; semi-arid in north

Status Republic

Population 11,038,805 (2017 estimate)

Population growth per year 2.71% (2017)

Life expectancy in years at birth 62.3 (2017)

Capital Porto-Novo is the official capital; Cotonou is the seat of government and largest city

Economy The economy remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production and regional trade. Tourism, food processing and information technology are new growth industries.

GDP US$2,200 per capita (2017)

Language French (official), Fon, Yoruba and local tribal languages

Religion Indigenous beliefs, Christianity, Islam

Currency CFA franc (XOF) 

International telephone code +229

Time GMT +1

Electricity 220 volts; two-pin continental-style plugs

Weights and measures Metric

Flag Two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and red with a vertical green band on the hoist side

Public holidays 1 January, 10 January, 16 January, 28 February, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 1 August, 15 August, 26 October, 1 November, 4 December, 25 December, 31 December. 

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Benin articles

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The best mosques in West Africa

West Africa is renowned for its unusual Islamic architecture – these are the sights you shouldn't miss.

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Five reasons to visit Benin

From Voodoo culture to the best safari opportunities in West Africa, Benin offers a real treasure trove of unexpected gems. 

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