Benin or People’s Republic of Benin. Old Dahomey; is a small West African country located between the Atlantic Ocean, Burkina Faso, Togo, and Nigeria and Niger. The country became independent from France on August 1, 1960. Since 1991 Benin has made steady economic progress.
It is a small country in West Africa, located between the Atlantic Ocean, Burkina Faso, Togo, and Nigeria and Niger.
Four orographically differentiated zones can be distinguished: the low and sandy coastal zone with numerous lagoons and swamps, the central region formed by fertile plateaus, the mountainous north with heights around 900 meters. in the Atakora Mountains, and the northeastern region with flat lands extending to the Niger River Valley. The river network has numerous rivers such as the Niger River, the Quémé River with its tributaries, Okpara and Zu, the Cuffo and the Mono.
The most important cities are Cotonou, which means “lagoon of death” – it is the largest in the country (700,000 residents) – and its administrative capital, Ganvié, the largest lake city in Africa; Porto Novo, commercial city; Ouidah, a former slave shipping port and Abomey, the country’s religious capital, home to the ruins of the former royal palaces.
The interior of the country is characterized by the presence of plateaus at a height of about 200 meters. The reserves include the savanna and some forests. The Atakora mountain range occupies the northwest, with the Pendjari and W reserves. The highest point in the region is Mount Sagdarao, located 658 meters above sea level.
Along 125 km of coastline, four coastal cities follow one another: Cotonou, Porto Novo, Ouidah and Grand Popo. On many maps, Benin closes its borders at the height of Grand Popo. However, the country extends to the west, occupying an additional 20 km populated by coconut trees. Grand Popo is a nucleus with a strange atmosphere, built next to the lagoon formed by the sea and the Mono River, which has seen some of its neighborhoods gradually disappear underwater.
Flora and fauna
Benin has the Pendjari and W reserves, which together occupy 777,000 hectares in the northwest of the country. Among the typical fauna of the country are antelope, elcélafos, damaliscos, Buffon cobs and waterbucks. Mammals such as monkeys (baboons, vervet monkeys, hussar monkeys), warthogs, buffaloes or hippos can be seen with some frequency.
More difficult to see are the lions, elephants and cheetahs, which are also found in these places. With more than 280 cataloged bird species, these protected areas offer a huge ornithological variety.
Since 1991 Benin has made steady economic progress. Its economy is mainly agricultural and the main products are cotton, peanuts, coffee and palm oil.
The service sector grew rapidly starting in the 1990s, in part due to the political dispute in neighboring Togo that diverted much of its trade to Benin. Other reasons for this growth have been the success of the economic liberalization program and the fiscal reform that attracted foreign investment.
Since the discovery of oil, this has become the main exportable item. However, despite a certain development of the energy industry, there is still a large imbalance in the balance of payments with a large deficit.
Benin is a member of the CFA fanco zone, which gives stability to the money and allows it to access French financial support. The country sells its products mainly to France and, in smaller quantities, to the Netherlands, Korea, Japan and India, and in recent years Germany has tended to become an important trading partner. Benin is also a member of the East African Economic Community (ECOWAS).
According to andyeducation, Benin is the cradle of voodoo, which would later reach, mainly, the Antilles, Cuba and Brazil through the slave trade. The south of the country is especially impregnated with these cults professed to the gods of nature.
In the country there are numerous museums, some of great quality. The Adandé Ethnographic Museum in Porto Novo has a large collection, which includes masks, weapons, musical instruments or statuettes, among others. The Ouidah Museumrecreates the history of slavery through photographs and various objects.