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Benin flag
Republic of Benin
République du Bénin
   Benin is located west of Nigeria and is one of the countries of the Gulf of Guinea, which it faces south for a relatively short distance. The standard of living in Benin is rather low, also because this nation does not have many resources, with the economy too tied to the export of cotton and to the fluctuation of its price; the heart of Benin is the urban area between Porto-Novo and Cotonou.
Government type Presidential republic
Area 114,763 km² (44,310 sq mi)
Population 10,009,000 inh. (2013 census)
Population 14,080,000 inh. (2024 est.)
Population density 123 inh/km² (318 inh/mi²)
Capital Porto-Novo (264,000 pop., 657,000 urban aggl.)
Currency West African CFA franc
Human development index 0.525 (166th place)
Languages French (official), regional languages
Life expectancy M 63 years, F 66 years
Location in Africa


Burkina Faso NORTH-WEST
Nigeria EAST
Atlantic Ocean SOUTH


Largest cities
Cotonou 679,000 pop., 1,863,000 urban aggl.
Porto-Novo 264,000 pop., 657,000 urban aggl.
Parakou 255,000 pop.
Godomey 253,000 pop.
Highest mountains
Mount Sokbaro 658 m (2,159 ft)
Longest rivers
Niger 4,180 km (2,597 mi) total, 150 km (93 mi) in Benin
Ouémé 510 km (317 mi)
Largest lakes
Lake Nokoué 160 km² (62 sq mi)
Lake Ahémé 78 km² (30 sq mi)


   Benin is administratively divided into 12 departments, with that of the Littoral corresponding to the city of Cotonou; the two north-eastern departments of Alibori and Borgou are those with the greatest territorial extension, while the Atlantique, despite having an area of only just over 3,000 square kilometers, is the most populated department.

   The area between Cotonou and Porto-Novo includes 5 of the most important cities in the country; as can be seen from the second map, the distribution of the major urban centers is however quite homogeneous.