About Benin

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Former name: Dahomey (named after a 15th century Kingdom)

Size: Half the size of Great Britain

Population: 7 million of whom 47% are under 14

Economic Capital: Cotonou

Official capital: Porto Novo

Climate: hot and humid: Dry season from November to April and rainy season from late April to October

Average temperatures: from 25 °to 35 °

Languages: French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common) and at least six other languages

Date of Independence from France: 1st August 1960

Religions: Animist (50%)- Christian(30%)- Muslim( 20%)

Main exports: Cotton – Palm oil – Cocoa

Subsistence agricultural crops: maize, yams, cassava, millet, sorghum, beans, plantain and rice.

Currency: CFA Francs (1000 CFA francs = 70 pence approx)

GDP per capita: 1,108$ compared to 24,600$ in Britain

Infant mortality: 86/1000 compared to 6/1000 in Britain.

Adult literacy rate: 40,9% (26,4% in 1970)

Life expectancy: 51 years compared to 78 years in Britain.

Government type: Multi-party democracy with a President elected for 5 years and Members of Parliament every 4 years.