Focus on Benin


Benin (formerly Dahomey) is a small country in West Africa bordering Nigeria to the east, Togo to the west, Niger to the north, Burkina Faso to the northwest and south by the Atlantic Ocean.

Geographically, on the globe, Benin is located in the tropical zone between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer (between the parallels 6 ° 30 'and 12 ° 30' of latitude North and the meridians 1 ° and 30 ° 40 ' East longitude)

It is a country of more than 10 million inhabitants who owns two capitals namely: Porto Novo the Administrative Capital and Cotonou the Economic Capital.

The currency used in this country is the CFA Franc.

The Official language is French. Beside French are the national languages ​​such as: fongbé, mina, yoruba, bariba, adjagbé, goungbé, dendi, ditamari...

This country has a surface of 114 763 km² and is composed of 12 departments.

The main religions are: Animism, Christianity and Islam

Agriculture consists mainly of crops such as: Cotton, maize, cassava, sorghum and oil palm

Benin's phone code is (+229) and its Internet domain is '' bj ''

Geography

 There are five (05) natural regions in Benin, namely:

The mountainous Atakora (or Atacora) region in the North-West

The plains of the Niger basin to the North East.

Crystal trays

 A fertile clay area and A sandy littoral zone bordering open or closed lagoons

 Benin is crossed by many tributaries of the Niger River, Mekrou, Alibori, Sota and Pendjari. The other rivers in the country are Oueme, Couffo and Mono. The main wetlands are Nokoué lake, Ahémé lake and Porto-Novo lagoon.

The climate

The five regions correspond to very different climatic zones: equatorial climate in the South with four seasons, long rainy season (April to July), short dry season (August to mid-September), short rainy season (mid-September to October)  and long dry season (November to March) and Sudanese climate in the north characterized by two major seasons, dry season from November to March, rainy season from June to September.

fauna and flora

In southern Benin, forest areas predominate. In the center of the country, the savannah is characterized by species such as cashew, Iroko, Samba. Finally, in the North of the country, the savannah is raised. Two national parks in the North, Pendjari and W (shared with Niger and Burkina Faso) allow to admire elephants, hippopotamuses, lions, cheetahs, leopards, caimans, antelopes, buffaloes, birds, monkeys, etc.

 History

Five major periods have marked the history of Benin: the kingdoms of pre-colonial times, the French colonization, independence marked by political instability, the revolutionary regime of Kerekou and finally democratic renewal that makes the Benin is an example democratic in West Africa. Before the colonial period, coexisted on the current territory of Benin three main groups: North Bariba kingdoms, notably Nikki, founded by the warlike dynasties east the Yoruba kingdoms, including that of Ketu and south Adja-fon kingdoms. The Houéda gave their name to the town of Ouidah; the Agassouvi founded Allada (1575), then divided into three kingdoms: Allada, Djassin (now Hogbonou and Porto-Novo) and Abomey (1625) the origin of the kingdom of Dahomey (Dahomey spelled by the colonizer). Organized administratively and militarily during the reign of Houegbadja (seventeenth century), Dahomey extended its influence throughout the south. International trade was developed in the seventeenth century, based on the slave trade and then on the palm, after the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, allowing the kingdom of Dahomey to develop. This has encouraged the establishment of trading posts English, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch and French. Ghézo King (1818 - 1858) was the architect of the administrative and economic modernization of the kingdom, by introducing new crops such as corn, tobacco and peanuts. Since France has implemented a counter in Cotonou in 1850, Dahomey was placed under French protectorate in 1881, then became a French colony in 1894. The monarchy was abolished in 1900. After the Second World War, the country was known as the "Latin Quarter of Africa" ​​because of its elites lettered overlooking a turbulent political life. Benin has achieved independence on 1 August 1960, as the Republic of Dahomey. After independence, opens a period of political instability marked by five coups. In 1972, the rise to power of Colonel Mathieu Kerekou in favor of a new coup, was reflected in the establishment of a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist regime. Symbol of this mutation, the country took the name of Benin in 1975, the name of an ancient city Nigerian state. This period was marked by the nationalization of the economy until 1982 date of the first financial crisis which resulted in a shift in socialist politics. The mid-80s was marked by a severe financial crisis in 1989, causing the fall of the regime. Following the national conference in Cotonou in February 1990, the democratization of the country is engaged and multiparty been established. The new Constitution adopted in late 1990 led to legislative and presidential elections in March 1991, which resulted in the victory of Nicephore Soglo who launched a national reconstruction site and fiscal consolidation, reviving GDP growth. Five years later, Kerekou was re-elected president, and continued the democratic process. In 2006, Yayi Boni, former head of the West African Development Bank, was elected president.

Mosaic of people, each with a rich history, the people of Benin is known for its hospitality. A twenty ethnic groups coexist in Benin: South Adja, Waci, Gen, Xueda, Xwla, Ayizo Holi and Fon, southeast and the Yoruba Gun against the Maxi and Yoruba and north: Batumbu, Dendi, Mokole, Fulani, Cenka, Hausa, Betamaribé, Waama, bebelbe, Natemba, Yowa and Lokpa. The languages ​​in Benin can be classified into two broad categories: Voltaic (or Gur) as Gulmacema languages ​​Ditammari and Kwa grouping Fongbe languages, Yoruba Gungbe etc. These ethnic groups communicate using different languages: fongbe, Yoruba, adjagbe, gengbe, gungbe, Baatonu, Dendi, Ditammari, Waama, Nateni, fulfulbe, yom, Hausa, Biali, Lokpa, Mbelime Language, Foodo and anii.

Religions

Animism is dominant in Benin. Each group has its traditions and religions. Benin is the birthplace of Vaudoun: It is in the villages in the region of Abomey born the "Voodoo" perpetuated in the Caribbean. In Atacora, national religions were established by the original founders. The deities are embodied in the elements of nature: stone, snake, tree, etc ... In the South and Middle Benin, some deities of the Yoruba and Fon are close Adja: The Supreme God is Orrica in Yoruba and Mahu or Sègbolisa in Adja-Fon. The god of the earth is Sakpata or Chango, like thunder or Xebioso Chango, that of war and fire, Gu or Ogun. Introduced by Arab merchants, Islam is practiced in Hausa and Songhai throughout Borgou until Djougou, and within the Yoruba peoples. Its influence tends to develop in major cities such as Porto Novo and Parakou. Christianity introduced by European missionaries is practiced in the southern and central regions, and Otammari country. Beninese Christians are mostly Catholics.

Craft

Benin's markets offer a vision of the richness of expression of its artisans. Wood carving is particularly developed, legacy of the Kingdom of Danxomé, the thrones of kings were carved in wood. The original wooden masks Yoruba are still used in traditional ceremonies. The variety of fabrics reflects the rich traditions of Benin: In the south, the fabrics with animal motifs are symbols of the former kings of Danxomé. The Baribas tissues are particularly colorful. Very popular, traditional tapestries of Abomey represent the 12 symbols of Dahomey. Previously, only kings were allowed craftsmen to make these tapestries. Beninese artisans are renowned for their expertise in leather goods, jewelry, pottery and basketry.

Economy

Benin lives mainly through agriculture and the Port of Cotonou, one of the most active in the region. For many years, Benin has been called State Warehouse, due to its transit role with neighboring Nigeria, Cotonou is the port used by landlocked states of Niger and Burkina Faso. After the crisis of the late 80s, Benin has returned to growth in the 90, with an annual rate of GDP growth of over 4% in the years 91 to 95 and higher the following years, thanks to the sharp rise in cotton production. Inflation was under control until the devaluation of the CFA franc in 1994. In the early 2000s, Benin has suffered from the economic recession, the crisis in the cotton sector and its port sector. In 2005, he was one of 18 countries have benefited from the cancellation by G8 finance ministers of their debts to the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank. The main food crops of Benin are cassava, sweet potato, corn, sorghum, and millet. Cash crops are coconut, oil palm, cotton and groundnuts. In the north of the country, practiced animal husbandry. Natural resources are limited: limestone Onigbolo, water source and Possotomé oil Seme. Some iron stores in Loumbou-loumbou, gold and phosphate to Perma. Cash crops are coconut, oil palm, cotton and groundnuts. In the north of the country, practiced animal husbandry. Natural resources are limited: limestone Onigbolo, water source and Possotomé oil Seme. Some iron stores in Loumbou-loumbou, gold and phosphate to Perma. Cash crops are coconut, oil palm, cotton and groundnuts. In the north of the country, practiced animal husbandry. Natural resources are limited: limestone at Onigbolo, water source at Possotomé, oil at  Seme. Some iron stores in Loumbou-loumbou, gold and phosphate at Perma.

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