The World Factbook (1982)/Benin

The World Factbook (1982)
by the Central Intelligence Agency
Benin

BENIN
(formerly Dahomey)
Edit

World Factbook (1982) Benin.jpg
(See reference map VII)

LANDEdit

115,773 km2; southern third of country is most fertile; arable land 80% (actually cultivated 11%), forests and game preserves 19%, nonarable 1% Land boundaries: 1,963 km

WATEREdit

Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 200 nm (100 nm mineral exploitation limit)

Coastline: 121 km

PEOPLEEdit

Population: 3,636,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 2.6%

Nationality: noun—Beninese (sing., pl.); adjective—Beninese

Ethnic divisions: 99% Africans (42 ethnic groups, most important being Fon, Adja, Yoruba, Bariba), 5,500 Europeans

Religion: 12% Muslim, 8% Christian, 80% animist

Language: French official; Fon and Yoruba most common vernaculars in south; at least six major tribal languages in north

Literacy: about 20%

Labor force: 70% of labor force employed in agriculture; less than 2% of the labor force work in the industrial sector and the remainder are employed in transport, commerce, and public services

Organized labor: approximately 75% of wage earners, divided among two major and several minor unions

GOVERNMENTEdit

Official name: People's Republic of Benin

Type: party state, under military rule since 26 October 1972; the military plans to relinquish power to a 336-member National Assembly

Capital: Porto-Novo (official), Cotonou (de facto)

Political subdivisions: 6 provinces, 46 districts

Legal system: based on French civil law and customary law; legal education generally obtained in France; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: 30 November

Branches: National Revolutionary Assembly, National Executive Council, Central Committee of party

Government leader: Col. Mathieu KEREKOU, President, Chief of State, and Minister of Defense

Suffrage: universal adult

Elections: National Assembly elections were held in November 1979; Assembly then formally elected Kerekou President in February 1980

Political parties: People's Revolutionary Party of Benin (PRPB) established in 1975

Communists: sole party espouses Marxism-Leninism

Member of: AFDB, CEAO, EAMA, ECA, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, G-77, GATT, IBRD, ICAO, ICO, IDA, IFAD, ILO, IMCO, IMF, ITU, NAM, Niger River Commission, OAU, OCAM, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

ECONOMYEdit

GNP: $1,139.5 million (1980), $286 per capita; 5.7% real growth during 1980

Agriculture: major cash crop is oil palms; peanuts, cotton, coffee, sheanuts, and tobacco also produced commercially; main food crops—corn, cassava, yams, rice, sorghum and millet; livestock, fish

Fishing: catch 25,452 metric tons (1979 est.); exports 600 metric tons, imports 7,365 metric tons (1979)

Major industries: palm oil and palm kernel oil processing, textiles, beverages

Electric power: 19,500 kW capacity (1980); 8 million kWh produced (1980), 80 million kWh imported from Ghana, 2 kWh per capita

Exports: $170 million (f.o.b., 1980); palm products (34%); other agricultural products

Imports: $410 million (c.i.f., 1980); clothing and other consumer goods, cement, lumber, fuels, foodstuffs, machinery, and transport equipment

Major trade partners: France, EC, franc zone; preferential tariffs to EC and franc zone countries

Budget: (1980) revenues $156.2 million, current expenditures $127.1 million, development expenditures $139.0 million

Monetary conversion rate: 281.23 Communaute Financier Africaine (CFA) francs=US$1 (1981)

Fiscal year: calendar year

COMMUNICATIONSEdit

Railroads: 579 km, all meter gauge (1.00 m)

Highways: 3,303 km total; 705 km paved, 2,598 km improved earth

Inland waterways: small sections, only important locally

Ports: 1 major (Cotonou), 1 minor

Civil air: 3 major transport aircraft

Airfields: 9 total, 9 usable; 1 with permanent-surface runways; 4 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: fair system of open wire and radio relay; 16,200 telephones (0.5 per 100 pop].); 2 AM stations, 1 FM station, and 1 TV station

DEFENSE FORCESEdit

Military manpower: eligible 15-49, 1,579,000; of the 778,000 males 15-49, 393,000 are fit for military service; about 37,000 males and 38,000 females reach military age (18) annually; both sexes are liable for military service