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Administrative divisions (GPS Maps)

Geography

People and Society

Government

Economy

Communications

Transportation

Military


Present day Benin was the site of Dahomey, a prominent West African kingdom that rose in the 15th century. The territory became a French Colony in 1872 and achieved independence on 1 August 1960, as the Republic of Benin. A succession of military governments ended in 1972 with the rise to power of Mathieu KEREKOU and the establishment of a government based on Marxist-Leninist principles. A move to representative government began in 1989. Two years later, free elections ushered in former Prime Minister Nicephore SOGLO as president, marking the first successful transfer of power in Africa from a dictatorship to a democracy. KEREKOU was returned to power by elections held in 1996 and 2001, though some irregularities were alleged. KEREKOU stepped down at the end of his second term in 2006 and was succeeded by Thomas YAYI Boni, a political outsider and independent. YAYI, who won a second five-year term in March 2011, has attempted to stem corruption and has strongly promoted accelerating Benin's economic growth.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form Republic of Benin
Conventional short form Benin
Local long form Republique du Benin
Local short form Benin
Former Dahomey

Government type
Republic

Capital
Name Porto-Novo (official capital)
Geographic coordinates 6 29 N, 2 37 E
Time difference
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Note Cotonou (seat of government)

Administrative divisions
12 departments; Alibori, Atakora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Kouffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou

Independence
1 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday
National Day, 1 August (1960)

Constitution
Adopted by referendum 2 December 1990

Legal system
Civil law system modeled largely on the French system and some customary law

International law organization participation
Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
President Thomas YAYI Boni (since 6 April 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Head of government
President Thomas YAYI Boni (since 6 April 2006); Prime Minister Pascal KOUPAKI (since 28 May 2011)
Cabinet
Council of Ministers appointed by the president
Elections
President elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); last held on 13 March 2011 (next to be held in March 2016)
Election results
Thomas YAYI Boni re-elected president; percent of vote - Thomas YAYI Boni 53.1%, Adrien HOUNGBEDJI 35.6%, Abdoulaye Bio TCHANE 6.1%, other 5.2%

Legislative branch
Unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (83 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Elections
Last held on 30 April 2011 (next to be held in 2015)
Election results
Percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FCBE 41, UN 30, other 12

Judicial branch
Constitutional Court or Cour Constitutionnelle (7 members; 4 appointed by the National Assembly, 3 appointed by the President; appointed for a 5-year term for one term); Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (President of the Supreme Court appointed by the President for a 5-year term); High Court of Justice (composed of members of the Constitutional Court and 6 members appointed by the National Assembly)

Political parties and leaders
African Movement for Democracy and Progress or MADEP [Sefou FAGBOHOUN]; Alliance for Dynamic Democracy or ADD; Alliance of Progress Forces or AFP; Benin Renaissance or RB [Rosine SOGLO]; Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI]; Force Cowrie for an Emerging Benin or FCBE; Impulse for Progress and Democracy or IPD [Theophile NATA]; Key Force or FC [Lazare SÈHOUÉTO]; Movement for the People's Alternative or MAP [Olivier CAPO-CHICHI]; Rally for Democracy and Progress or PRD [Dominique HOUNGNINOU]; Social Democrat Party or PSD [Bruno AMOUSSOU]; Union for Democracy and National Solidarity or UDS [Sacca LAFIA]; Union for the Relief or UPR [Issa SALIFOU]; Union Makes the Nation or UN
Note
Approximately 20 additional minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders
Other
Economic groups; environmentalists; political groups; teachers' unions and other educational groups

International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WAEMU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Cyrille Segbe OGUIN
Chancery
2124 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone [1] (202) 232-6656
FAX [1] (202) 265-1996

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission Ambassador James A. KNIGHT
Embassy
Rue Caporal Bernard Anani, Cotonou
Mailing address 01 B. P. 2012, Cotonou
Telephone [229] 21-30-06-50
FAX [229] 21-30-03-84

Flag description
Two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and red (bottom) with a vertical green band on the hoist side; green symbolizes hope and revival, yellow wealth, and red courage
Note
Uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia

National symbol(s)
Leopard

National anthem
Name
"L'Aube Nouvelle" (The Dawn of a New Day)
Lyrics/music Gilbert Jean DAGNON
Note Adopted 1960


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  Benin (Porto-novo):


  GPS points from Benin (Porto-novo)

Sokoum Benin (general)

Agbatou Departement Du Collines

Goutoungadoni Benin (general)

Bassoukou Benin (general)

Toukpeta Departement Du Zou

Kpaoya Benin (general)

Naataya Benin (general)

Adjo Benin (general)




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