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