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Basic Facts
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Benin
conventional short form: Benin
local long form: Republique du Benin
local short form: Benin
former: Dahomey
Gevernment typerepublic
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)
Flag descriptiontwo equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and red (bottom) with a vertical green band on the hoist side
CurrencyCommunaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Internet country code.bj
Ports and terminalsCotonou
Agriculture productscotton, corn, cassava (tapioca), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts; livestock
Industriestextiles, food processing, construction materials, cement
Geography
LocationWestern Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin, between Nigeria and Togo
Coordinates9 30 N, 2 15 E
ContinentAfrica
Area total: 112,620 sq km
land: 110,620 sq km
water: 2,000 sq km
Boundaries total: 1,989 km
border countries: Burkina Faso 306 km, Niger 266 km, Nigeria 773 km, Togo 644 km
Coastline121 km
Climatetropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north
Terrainmostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains
Natural resourcessmall offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber
Natural hazardshot, dry, dusty harmattan wind may affect north from December to March
People
Population7,862,944
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)
Ethnic groupsAfrican 99% (42 ethnic groups, most important being Fon, Adja, Yoruba, Bariba), Europeans 5,500
Religionsindigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 20%
LanguagesFrench (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)

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