KNOW BENIN

A diverse geography

Geographic location

Benin is located in West Africa. Its surface area is 112,620 km2. In the North-East, Niger. In ,the South bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, Nigeria. In the west, Togo. The land of Benin is relatively uneven. The average altitude hardly exceeds 200 meters. To the north, the savannah dotted with semi-arid mountains dominates and to the south the predominantly marshy coastal plain. The highest point is Mount Sagbara at 658 meters, in Atacora (northwest).

The rivers

The Ouémé is the longest river. It forms a mouth at the coast, before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. From East to West, there are: Ouémé, Couffo and Mono. In the northern region, the Mékrou, Alibori and Sota flow from South to North, before joining the Niger River. In the north-west, the Pendjari rises in Atakora, flows through Togo and empties into the Volta River in Ghana.

The climate

The climate in Benin is punctuated by the alternation of rainy and dry seasons.
South :a subequatorial climate with 4 seasons.
  1. November to mid-April : great dry season. Temperature between 24 ° and 31 ° C.
  2. Mid-April to mid-July : great rainy season. Temperature between 22 ° and 28 ° C
  3. Mid-July to mid- September: short dry season. Temperature between 19 ° and 25 ° C.
  4. Mid-September to the end of October: small rainy season. Temperature between 24 ° and 29 ° C.
North : a tropical climate with 2 seasons.
  1. Mid-October to mid-May : dry season. Temperature between 15 ° and 40 ° C.
  2. Mid-May to mid-October: rainy season. Temperature between 22 ° and 34°.

The vegetation

The vegetation reflects the climate

South : A very degraded dense forest extends in the southern part of the country and ischaracterized by gallery forest, dense savannah, and mangroves in coastal swamps. A huge palm grove borders the coast beyond the lagoon fringe of coconut palms.

North : The tree or shrub savannah in the central and northern Sudanese regions is home to a rich and diverse fauna.

History of Benin

In the beginning, the land of present-day Benin was occupied by several kingdoms. The most prominent were Danhomé (Abomey), Xogbonou (Porto-Novo), Allada, Nikki, Kouandé, Kandi …

The first rulers of Abomey and Porto-Novo came from the Adja-Fon migration, from neighboring Togo (Tado). The other peoples come from present-day Nigeria, Niger or Burkina Faso. Thus, the country was once a hotbed of ancient and brilliant civilizations, built around these kingdoms: city-states.

These political entities, well structured, had functional urban centers. They had developed a local trade, based from the 17th century on the slave trade, then on that of oil palm after the abolition of the slave trade in 1807.

This trading economy encouraged the establishment along the coast (known as the "Slave Coast") of trading posts controlled by the English, the Danes, the Portuguese and a few French.

In 1704, France was authorized to build a port at Ouidah, while in 1752, the Portuguese discovered Porto-Novo.

In 1863, the first French protectorate was established with King Toffa of Porto-Novo who sought help in the face of the claims of the King of Abomey and attacks from the English in Lagos. The same year, Glèlè, king of Abomey, authorized the French to settle in Cotonou.

In 1882, the sovereign of the kingdom of Porto-Novo signed a new protectorate agreement with France which sent a "French resident" to assist the king.

In 1894, the French, conquerors of the local kings, created the colony of Dahomey and dependencies. The territory takes the name of the kingdom most preponderant and the most resistant to foreign occupation: Danhomè with its legendary king Béhanzin.

Proclaimed Republic on December 4, 1958, Benin acceded to international sovereignty on August 1, 1960, under the name of Dahomey.

Art et culture du Bénin

Beninese art draws its inspiration from animist practices. Expression of ancestral traditions, Beninese art retains all the splendor of its heritage. A work of wood, copper, iron, bronze, pottery, basketry and painting which ensures Beninese artists recognition beyond the borders of the country. Benin is also famous for its historical remains, richly decorated palaces bearing proof of its glorious history. Animism is based on a polytheistic conception of the universe.

The whole of this conception made up of various deities is called Vodoun, of which Benin is undoubtedly the cradle. Voodoo is worshiped in the Adja-Tado and Yoruba cultural area.

Despite the existence of Islam and Christianity, Voodoo still retains great vigor in the national and black communities transplanted by the slave trade, in the Caribbean islands: Cuba, Brazil and Haiti. The priests of the Vodoun cult form a real clergy, well hierarchical. They work closely with the Bokonon, healers who practice Fâ geomancy. In Benin, thanks to the phenomenon of syncretism (a system which tends to merge several different doctrines), Catholics, Protestants and Muslims participate harmoniously in the annual festivities of Vodoun.

January 10 is a public holiday in Benin : national holiday of traditional cults.

Religions

Three great religious families :

    • Animists: 50%
    • Christians: 30%
    • Muslims: 20%

The communities

Seven ethnic groups make up Benin. These groups are divided according to the spoken language.

    • Adja-Fon and related: 54, 8%.
      Fon (17.6%), Goun (6.3%), Aïzo (4.3%), Mahi (3.5%), Wémè (2.5%), Torri (2.4%), Kotafon ( 1.4%), Tofin (1.3%), Sèto (0.3%). In addition, there are the Adja (8.7%), Sahoué (2.6%), Xwla (1.4%), Mina (1.2%), Houédah (0.7%), Ouatchi (0 ,5%), Challenge (0.1%)
    • Yoruba and related: 12.3%.
      Nagot (6.8%), Yoruba (1.8%), Idaasha (1.5%), Hollidjè (1.4%), Ifè (0.4%), Mokolé (0.3%), Chabè ( 0.1%).
    • Bariba and related parties: 9.2%.
      Bariba (8.3%), Boo (0.8%), Boko (0.1%).
    • Peulh and related: 6.9%.
      Peulh Fulfuldé (5.5%), Gando (1.4%).
    • Otamari and related parties: 6.1%.
      Berba (1.4%), Ditamari (1.3%), Waama (1.0%), Natimba (0.9%), Otamari (0.6%), Gourmantché (0.5%), Yendé ( 0.2%), Betyobé (0.1%), Gagamba (0.1%).
    • Yoa-Lokpa and related: 4,0%.
      Yoa (1.8%), Lokpa (1.2%), Anii (0.3%), Koto-Koli (0.2%), Windji-Windji (0.2%), Kabyè (0.1% ), Soruba Biyobè (0.1%), Tanéka (0.1%).
    • Dendi and related: 2.5%.
      Dendi (2,4%), Djerma (0,1%).
    • Other communities: 1.4%.
      Others (1.0%), Hausa (0.3%), Zerma (0.1%)

The political life of Benin

Benin is known for the exemplary nature of its democracy. Its regime is presidential, with a single legislative chamber: the National Assembly. Its political capital sits in Porto-Novo. The main city is Cotonou, the economic capital. A pioneer of National Conferences in Africa, the country was a French colony. It gained its independence on August 1, 1960. Its first President of the Republic is called Hubert K. Maga.

The first decade of its independence was characterized by political instability. And on October 26, 1972, a military regime was established, with Mathieu Kérékou as President. In 1975 he changed the name of the country. Dahomey has become Benin. He opted for a revolution based on Marxism- Leninism.
But a serious socio-economic crisis forced the regime to open up politically. A National Conference in February 1990 brought together the "living forces" of the country which will lead to the establishment of democracy. A year later, the incumbent President loses the elections. Mathieu Kérékou

gave up his chair to Nicéphore Soglo. The latter in turn lost the presidential election in 1996. The winner is his predecessor. Mathieu Kérékou has returned, but democratically. The people renewed his mandate in 2001. In 2006, after his two mandates, Mathieu Kérékou left power to a new President of the Republic. HE
Mr. Thomas Boni Yayi is elected. He remains President of Benin, thanks to his victory in the first round in 2011, for a second term. In 2016, HE Patrice Talon won in the second round. He is the current president of Benin.

The biography of the President of Benin

Patrice Talon was born on May 1, 1958 in Abomey, Benin.

After studying mathematics and physical sciences at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Dakar, in 1983 he entered the business of trading in packaging and agricultural inputs. In ten years, he became the leading private investor in Benin and the leading private employer.

Patrice Talon's economic activities are diversifying into the agro-food industry in Benin and Africa. They result, through a strategy of vertical and horizontal integration, in the creation of a true industrial group, the flagship of the national economy. In partnership with large global groups, it also invests in other sectors, including hotels, logistics, and port services.
Returning to Benin during the period marking the end of the socialist regime which would later lead to the holding of the National Conference of Living Forces, Patrice Talon became involved very early in the political debate. As an economic operator, he considers that he cannot exclude himself from said debate which is of general interest since politics governs life in the city.

In the context of a democracy under construction where there is not yet a precise framework for the animation of political parties, in particular those of the opposition, the involvement of Patrice Talon in the political debate and his support for the political class , all trends combined, are for him the best way to maintain political competition for the preservation of democracy. He has thus proven himself both in the management of his companies and in supporting the initiatives of the political forces engaged in the establishment of the rule of law in Benin since the 1990s.

Candidate for the 2016 presidential elections in Benin with the slogan "Le Nouveau Départ", Patrice Talon proposes a mandate of rupture, transition, economic recovery, and notably political reforms in order to boost a new dynamic in the country. He considers that a team of well-inspired and competent leaders is capable of successfully implementing a program to rapidly revive the development of Benin in a peaceful environment of democracy and freedom..

Elected President of the Republic with 65.37% of the votes in the second round, he takes office on April 6, 2016.

Married to Claudine Gbénagnon, Patrice Talon is the father of two children.

Source of biography : présidence.bj