Benin, formerly known as Dahomey, is one of Africa’s most stable democracies.
Benin’s shore includes what used to be known as the Slave Coast, the departure point for captives to be shipped across the Atlantic.
Elements of the culture and religion brought by slaves from the area are still present in the Americas, including voodoo – which has made a comeback in Benin and is even celebrated at the country’s annual Voodoo Day.
On the economic side, however, the picture is less bright – Benin is severely underdeveloped, and corruption is rife.
While the country has experienced economic growth over the past few years and is one of Africa’s largest cotton producers, it ranks among the world’s poorest countries.
To the north, there have been sporadic clashes along Benin’s border with Burkina Faso. The trouble has been blamed on land disputes between rival communities on either side of the border
- The Republic of Benin
- Capital: Porto-Novo
- Population 9.4 million
- Area 112,622 sq km (43,484 sq miles)
- Major languages French (official) Fon, Ge, Bariba, Yoruba, Dendi
- Major religions Indigenous beliefs, Christianity, Islam
- Life expectancy 55 years (men), 59 years (women)
- Currency 1 CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc