43 Important Facts About Benin

Last updated on November 14th, 2017

#25. Crime rate is low in the country. However, theft is a problem and many wealthier homeowners generally hire a night watchman.

#26. The red color on its flag symbolizes courage, yellow stands for wealth and green symbolizes hope and revival.

#27. The southern part of the country receives heavy rainfall and produces more vegetation as compared to the other parts of the country.

#28. Hubert Maga was elected as the first president of Benin.

#29. Benin is also home to Fulani herders who move their livestock over long distances in search of grass. These herders are locally known as the Peul.

Facts about Benin’ culture, people, slaves and health care

#30. There is at least one open-air market in every town of the country.

#31. People generally eat rice, vegetables, and meat. Food is prepared at least twice a day. A variety of fish is eaten in the south while beef is more popular in the north.

#32. In the country’s culture, it is considered bad to eat with the left hand or offer another person something with it.

#33. Upon entering or leaving an appointment, it is appropriate to shake the hand of each person present.

#34. Young Beninese like to eat packaged food items that are mostly imported. They perceive their traditional diet as monotonous and like to eat imported food, instead.

#35. AIDS is a major concern in the country and it is straining the health care system.

#36. With over twelve thousand students enrolled, the University of Benin in Cotonou is the only postsecondary institution in the country.

#37. Because of the extreme heat during the summers in the country, the people wear jackets even when the temperature in near 20 degrees on plus.

#38. White persons visiting the country are referred to as “yovo”. Do not be surprised to find people and kids shouting this word behind you if you happen to visit the country. The people, however, are very friendly and lively.

#39. The capital of Benin, Porto-Novo is also known as Adjatche and Hogbonou.

#40. People of the country do not like to be photographed. They believe that a photograph can be used to cast a sell or a course.

#41. The country is famous the world over for carved wood masks.

#42. Though Benin has a long history with slavery, slaves in the region were treated very well.

#43. While being very poor, Benin is also one of the most politically stable countries in the West Africa.

Benin – country at a glance

Independence1 August 1960 (from France)
Capital CityPorto-Novo
Largest CityCotonou
Total area112,622 sq km
Population11,038,805 (2017 est.)
DemonymBeninese
Official LanguageFrench
BordersTogo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria
CurrencyWest African CFA franc (XOF)
ReligionCatholicism, Islam, Vodoun
Life expectancy 61.9 years (2016)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Government typepresidential republic
PresidentPatrice Talon
Climatetropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north
Terrainmostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains
Natural resourcessmall offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber
Agricultural land31.3%
Birth rate35 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate7.9 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Sex ratio1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
National anthem"L'Aube Nouvelle" (The Dawn of a New Day)
National symbolleopard
National colors
green, yellow, red
Industriestextiles, food processing, construction materials, cement
Exports$1.713 billion (2016 est.)
cotton, cashews, shea butter, textiles, palm products, seafood

Imports$2.591 billion (2016 est.)
foodstuffs, capital goods, petroleum products
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,200 (2016 est.)
Internet country code.bj
Time ZoneWAT (UTC+1)
Calling Code+229
Drives on theRight
Data sourcesCIA, Wikipedia
Table last updatedSeptember 5, 2017