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Benin
 
 
 
 
The Republic of Benin, used to be named Dahomey, locates in the west of Africa. She lies on the southern border of Gulf of Guinea and eastern border of Nigeria, is adjacent to Niger on the north, Burkina Faso on the northwest and Togo on the west. Benin has a total area of 112,620 square kilometers. The National Assembly is in the capital, Porto-Novo, the government offices locate in Cotonou.
 
Politics 
 
Seven constitutions has implemented in the history of Benin, the present one was elected through referendum on 2th December 1990 aims at establishing a country with democratic pluralism and rule of law. Presidentialism and the principle of executive, legislative and judicial separation are implemented. The President election and Parliamentary election are held every five years. There are 83 seats in parliament, the President is the head of government and state.
 
 
Military
 
The Benin troops contain navy, army and air force. Both male and female over 21 are welcomed by the army, the military service is 18-month long. The navy resist the pirates and defend the coastlines  with the help of inflatable boats.
 
Benin has been trying hard to mediate the crisis in countries like Liberia and Guinea-Bissau, the army are seen in countries with turmoil including Haiti and Congo. Benin is also a member of Economic Community of West African States. 
 
Geography
 
Benin is a north-western country in Africa adjacent to Burkina Faso on the north-west and Niger on north-east. She lies along with Atlantic Ocean on the south, Togo on the west and Nigeria on the east. There are five natural areas in the country. 

Coastal area: The coastal landforms are spit and lagoon with mostly the products of ancient estuary erosion and siltation. There are 2 runoffs flowing into the sea, one is Bush-Jo-Rua River, another is a runoff near Cotonou converging Noo Kuai Lake and the sea.

Clay District:It is north to coastal area with fertile soil and a height of 40 meters covering from Abomey to Lama March in Allada.

Dahomey Plateau: The altitude of it is about 300-750 feet, crystalline rocks mainly composed of clay are everywhere.

Atakora Mountain: It locates in the north-west of Benin northeastwardly and southwestwardly with the peak of 2146 meters.

Niger River Plain locates in the northeast of Benin.

Climate

The climate is divided into North and South climate zone.

The north: dry and rainy seasons(from May to September)

The south: equatorial climate with two rainy seasons(from March to July) and two dry seasons. 

The coast from Vader to Cotonou is of Accra-Togo dry coastal climate with annual rainfall of only 823 mm. The precipitation from Cotonou to Porto Novo increased, the average annual rainfall of Porto Novo was 1286 mm. The inland belongs to vice equatorial climate zone with little precipitation. The north of Sawa Lu is of south savannah climate with unstable and rapidly declining rainfall.

Economics

Agriculture dominates the economy of Benin. As some southern powerful tribal kingdoms started to trade with Europeans in the ancient times, premature specialization of agricultural economy is caused and lead to self-insufficiency in food supply. Benin mainly exports palm oil with high carotene content (1.7%-2%) and palm kernel which planted in southern regions and Dahomey Highland. Other crops are cassavas, sweet potatoes, corns, beans and peanuts.

There were large-scale palm oil plants in some major plantations before the independence of Benin. The country contains 4 large-scale plants producing 20,000 tons of palm oil annually. Benin nationalized the plants and plantations after the independence which led to the drastically decrease in productivity, but was gradually increasing under the help of China and Soviet Union. There are also two palm oil soap plants and several copra plants.

The cotton in Benin is of better quality as the cultivation method is more attentive than other African countries. Half of the cotton and cottonseed are for exports, the export proportion of peanuts is smaller. Vilma River contains a small quantity of alluvial gold, Kewu Andhra contains rutile and ilmenite. The proven oil reserves is about 10 million tons.

Population

The Fon is the largest race with 1.7 million people speaking Fon language according to the statistics in 2001, the Auruba cultural groups came second (120 million people), followed by Aga (600,000 people), Baliba (460,000 people), Ayu (330,000 people), Fraser (310,000 people) and Gon (240,000 people). There are a small number of descendants of Brazilian slaves, French and central Asians (mainly Lebanese and Indian). The country's population centralized in the south.

Culture

Voodoo is the national religion with 4,5 million followers accounting for 65% of the population.

Land Area: 112,620 square kilometers (110th in the world)

Water Rate: 1.8%

Capital: Porto Novo

Largest City: Contonou

Time Zone: UTC+1

Estimated Population in 2009

Total Population: 8,791832 (89th in the world)

Population Density: 78.1 per km2 (120th in the world)

Official Language: French

Official Character: French

Household Power: Voltage 220V, socket C and E, frequency 50Hz

Politics: Republic as the political system

Head of State (President): Yayi Boni

Head of Government (President): Yayi Boni

Economic Power

GDP (purchasing power parity) estimated in 2009

Total: $13,552 billion

GDP per capita: $1,444

GDP (exchange rate) 

Total: $6.672 billion

GDP per capita : $711 (166th in the world)

Human Development Index estimated in 2011: 0.427

Central Bank: Central Bank West Africa States

Currency: West Africa Franc (XOF)

Gini Coefficient: 0.365

International domain-name abbreviation: .bj

International telephone code: +229

 

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