General information: Dahomey achieved independence in 1960 (before 1960 – the confluence of France); in 1975 the country was renamed Benin. From 1974 to 1989 – a socialist state; in 1991 free elections were restored. See areacodesexplorer.com to know more about Benin History.
Location: West Africa, on the Atlantic coast, between Nigeria and Togo.
Geographic coordinates: 9° 30′ N. sh., 2° 15’E.
Reference map: Africa.
Area: total: 112,620 km2; land surface area: 110,620 km2; water surface area: 2000 km2
Comparative area: slightly smaller than the state of Pennsylvania.
Land borders: total length: 1,989 km; with neighboring states: from Burkina Faso 306 km, from Niger 266 km, from Nigeria 773 km, from Togo 644 km.
Coastline: 121 km.
Maritime claims: territorial waters: 200 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical; hot humid in south; semi-arid in the north.
Relief: mostly flat; there are hills and low mountains.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m; highest point: Mount Socbaro 658 m.
Natural resources: small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber.
Land use: arable land: 13%; cultivated land: 4%; pastures: 4%; forests and plantations: 31%; others: 48% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 100 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural Hazards: Hot, dry, dusty “harmattan” wind blowing in the northern part of the country in winter.
Current environmental issues: insufficient supplies of drinking water; poaching that threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification.
International environmental treaties: party to: Biodiversity, Climate change, Desertification, Endangered species, Environmental change, Hazardous waste, Law of the sea, Nuclear test ban, Ozone layer protection, Ship pollution, Wetlands. signed but not ratified: no.
Geography Note: There are no natural harbors.
Population: 6,590,782; note: estimates for this country take into account j rising AIDS deaths; due to the spread of AIDS, life expectancy, population size and growth may actually be lower, and child mortality and overall mortality rates, respectively, higher; there may also be changes in age structure and sex ratios (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 47.32% (male 1,574,124; female 1,544,741); 15 to 64 years old: 50.38% (male 1,607,900; female 1,712,360); over 65: 2.3% (male 64,756; female 86,901) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 2.97% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 44.23 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 14.51 deaths/1000 people (2001 est.).
Migration: 0 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male/female; up to 15 years: 1.02 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.94 male/female; over 65: 0.75 male/female; for the general population: 0.97 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 89.68 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 49.94 years; men: 49.02 years; women: 50.88 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 6.23 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of the adult population infected with HIV: 2.45% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 70,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 5 600 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Beninese; adjective: Benin.
Ethnic groups: African 99% (42 ethnic groups, the largest of which are Fon, Aje, Yoruba and Bariba); Europeans 5 500 people
Believers: adherents of local beliefs 50%, Christians 30%, Muslims 20%.
Language(s): French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common local dialects in the south), tribal languages (there are at least six major languages in the north).
Literacy: definition: persons 15 years and older who can read and write; for the general population: 37.5%; men: 52.2%; women: 23.6% (2000 est.).
conventional long form: Republic of Benin;
conventional short form: Benin; local long form: Republique du Benin; local short form: Benin former: Dahomey.
State structure: republic with a multi-party democratic form of government; the rejection of Marxism-Leninism took place in December 1989; democratic reforms undertaken in February 1990; transition to a multi-party system completed on 4 April 1991
Capital: Porto-Novo is the official capital; The seat of government is in the city of Cotonou.
Administrative division: 6 provinces: Ata-kora, Atlantic, Burgu, Zu, Mono, Wem; note: the creation of six additional provinces – Alibori, Donga, Collin, Kuffo, Littoral and Plateau – was reported, but the message was not confirmed; moreover, the term “province” can be replaced by the term “department”.
Independence: August 1, 1960 (before 1960 – possession of France).
National holiday: National Day, August 1 (1960).
Constitution : Adopted in December 1990
Legal system: based on French civil law and customary law, does not recognize compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years old, universal
head of state: President Mathieu KEREKOU (since April 4, 1996); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of government: President Mathieu KERECU (since 4 April 1996); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
Government: a council of ministers appointed by the president; elections: the president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; elections last held 22 March 2001 (next to be held in March 2001); election results: Mathieu KERECU elected president; percentage of votes – Mathieu KEREKU 84.1%, Bruno AMOUSSOU (Bruno AMOUSSOU) 15.91%; note: Mathieu KEREKOU (incumbent), Nicephore SOGLO 27.1%, Adrien HOUNGBEDJI (Speaker of the National Assembly) 12.6% and Bruno AMOUSSOU (Minister of State) 8.6%; the second round of elections, originally scheduled for 18 March, was postponed because SOLIO and UNGBEDJI refused to participate, citing electoral fraud; as a result, KEREK had to compete with its own Minister of State, AMUSSU,
Legislature: unicameral National Assembly (83 members elected by open popular vote for a four-year term); elections: last held 30 March 1999 (next to be held in March 2003); election results: distribution of votes by parties – no data; seats by party – PRB 27, PRD 11, FARD-ALAFIA 10, PSD 9, MADEP 6, Alliance E’toile 4, IPD 4, Car-DUNYA 3, MERCI 2, others 7.
Judiciary: Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, High Court.
Political parties and leaders: African Movement for Democracy and Progress (MADEP) (Sefou FAGBOHOUN); Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ADP) (Adekpedjou AKINDES); Alliance of Public Democratic Party (PSD) and National Union for Solidarity and Progress (UNSP) (Bruno AMOUSSOU); Alliance “Chameleon” (leader – no data); Car-DUNYA (Saka SALEY); Communist Party of Benin (PCB) (Pascal FAN-TONDJI, First Secretary); Democratic Renaissance Party (PRD) (Adrian UNGBEDJI); Front for Renewal and Development (FARD-ALAFIA) (Jerome Sakia KINA); Breakthrough for Progress and Democracy (IPD) (Bertin BORNA); Liberal Democratic Rally for National Reconstruction (RDL-Vivoten) (Severin ADJOVI); Movement for Citizenship and Awakening (MERCI) (Severen ADJOVI); New Generation for the Republic (NG) (Paul DOSSOU); Our Common Cause (NCC) (Francois Odjo TANKPINON); Democratic Party of Benin (Soule DANKORO), Rally for Democracy and Pan-Africanism (RDP) (Dominique HOYMINOU, Dr. Giles Auguste MINON-TIN); Benin Revival Party (PRB) (Nicéphore SOLO); Star Alliance (Alliance E’toile) (Sacca LAFIA); Union for National Democracy and Solidarity (UDS) (Adamou N’Diaye MAMA); note: The Coalition of Democratic Forces is an alliance of parties and organizations supporting President KEREKO (Gatien HOUNGBEDJI).
Political pressure groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIPONUH, MONUC, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNTAET, UPU, WADB, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
US Diplomatic Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Lucien Edgar TONOUKOUIN; office: 2737 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 232-6656; fax:  (202) 265-1996.
US Diplomatic Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Pamela E. BRIDGEWATER; embassy: Rue Caporal Bernard Anani, Cotonou; mailing address: W. R. 2012, Cotonou; phone:  30-06-50, 30-05-13, 30-17-92; fax:  30-14-39, 30-19-74.
Description of the flag: two equal horizontal stripes of yellow (top) and red with a vertical green stripe at the hoist.