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Benin, officially Republic of Benin, called in French République du Bénin, formerly (until 1975) Dahomey or (1975–90) Popular Republic of Benin, country of western Africa. It consists of a narrow wedge of territory extending northward for about 455 miles (732 kilometres) from the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean, on which it has a 75-mile seacoast, to the Niger River, which forms part of Benin’s northern border with Niger. Benin is bordered to the northwest by Burkina Faso, to the east by Nigeria, and to the west by Togo. The official capital is Porto-Novo, but Cotonou is Benin’s largest city, its chief port, and its de facto administrative capital. Benin was a French colony from the late 19th century until 1960.
With a population of +12 million, Benin has five natural regions. The coastal region is low, flat, and sandy, backed by tidal marshes and lagoons. It is composed of, in effect, a long sandbar on which grow clumps of coconut palms; the lagoons are narrower in
the western part of the country, where many have become marshes because of silting, and wider in the east, and some are interconnected. In the west the Grand-Popo Lagoon extends into neighbouring Togo, while in the east the
Porto-Novo Lagoon provides a natural waterway to the port of Lagos, Nigeria, although its use is discouraged by the political boundary. Only at Grand-Popo and at Cotonou do the lagoons have outlets to the sea.
Despite attempts at greater national unity and integration since 1960, differences among Benin’s ethnic groups survive to a marked degree. The Fon, who make up about two-fifths of the population, live in various parts of the country and especially in Cotonou. The
Yoruba, who are related to the Nigerian Yoruba, live mainly in southeastern Benin and constitute about one-eighth of Benin’s population. In the vicinity of / in Porto-Novo, the Goun (Gun) and the Yoruba (known in Pobé and Kétou as Nago, or Nagot) are so intermixed as to be hardly distinguishable. Among other southern groups are various Adja peoples, including the Aizo, the Holi, and the Mina.
The Bariba, the fourth largest ethnic group, comprise several subgroups and make up about one-tenth of Benin’s population. They inhabit the northeast, especially towns such as Nikki and Kandi that were once Bariba kingdoms. The Somba (Ditamari) are found in
Natitingou and in villages in the northwest. Other northern groups include the Dendi, the Pila (Pilapila), the Yoa-Lokpa, and the nomadic Fulani (Peul). Europeans, Lebanese, South Asians, and Africans from other countries are among
the foreigners who reside in Benin, primarily in Cotonou and Porto-Novo.
There are two paved, mostly two-lane, road networks. One runs parallel to the coast of the Gulf of Guinea from the Togolese border, through Cotonou and near Porto-Novo, to the Nigerian border. The other road runs north from Cotonou, near Abomey and Dassa, to Parakou in the north. Roads from Parakou to Niger’s border and from near Abomey to Burkina Faso’s border are unpaved and are barely passable in the rainy season.
There is a railroad from Cotonou to Parakou. Another railroad, parallel to the coast, does not extend to either the Togolese or the Nigerian border.
Interconnected coastal lagoons are navigable by small craft known as pirogues. The Ouémé, Couffo, and Mono rivers are navigable by small boats for several dozen miles. The country’s only port is at Cotonou. An international airport in Cotonou links Benin with other countries of Africa and with Europe. There is also limited domestic airline service.
Hapag-Lloyd in Benin:
Hapag-Lloyd is represented in Benin since 2009 by OMA-BENIN. Through OMA- BENIN who has office and activities in Niger, Hapag-Lloyd is also present in Niger market through this service of “Through Bill of Lading” ( TBL) also called Carrier Haulage (CH).
Currency : West
African CFA Franc CFA (XOF)
Time zone : UTC+1
Dialing code : +229
Religions: 48.5% Christianity
14.2% Traditional faiths
25.8% No religion
Imports Partners: Asia (39.4%), Europe (34.3%) , other Africa’s countries (20.5%)
Exports Partners: Asia (71.1%), other Africa’s countries (14.6%), Europe (13.1%)