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Country Profile


Benin is a developing country in West Africa. Its political capital is Porto Novo. However, its administrative capital, Cotonou, is Benin's largest city and the site of most government, commercial, and tourist activity. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Benin for additional information.



Image of Benin
Country Name: Benin
Continent: Africa
Capital City: Porto-Novo
Boundary Countries:

Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Togo

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

Hopital Saint Luc (Cotonou)

Main Cities:

Porto-Novo, Cotonou, Cové, Bohicon, Abomey, Lokossa, Ouidah, Djugou, Natitingou, Malanville, Kandi, Parakou

Country Size: 112,620 sq km
Population: 8,078,314



French (official), Fon and Yoruba (most common vernaculars in south), tribal languages (at least six major ones in north)

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine Franc (XOF); note- responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Predominant Religions:

Christian 42.8% (Catholic 27.1%, Celestial 5%, Methodist 3.2%, other Protestant 2.2%, other 5.3%), Muslim 24.4%, Vodoun 17.3%, other 15.5%

National Holidays: National Day, 1 August (1960)
Economic Status:

The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade.


Benin Armed Forces: Ground Forces Command, Benin Navy, Benin People's Air Force (Force Aerienne Populaire de Benin, FAPB)

US Presence:

Embassy Cotonou 
Address: The Embassy is located at Rue Caporal Bernard Anani in Cotonou. The Embassy's mailing address is B.P. 2012, Cotonou, Benin. 
Telephone: The 24-hour telephone numbers are (229) 21-30-06-50, 21-30-05-13, and 21-30-17-92.
Facsimile: (229) 21-30-66-82

Document Requirements:

A passport and visa are required. Visas are not routinely available at the airport. Visitors to Benin should also carry the WHO Yellow Card (“Carte Jaune”) indicating that they have been vaccinated for yellow fever. Contact the Embassy of Benin for the most current visa information. The Embassy is located at: 2124 Kalorama Road, NW,  Washington, DC  20008; tel.: 202-232-6656.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports:  5,  Airports with paved runways:  1

Cotonou Cadjehoun Airport (COO/DBBB)
Cotonou Airport, Benin, BP 96, Cotonou, BENIN
Tel: +229 30.14.13, +229 30.14.02
Fax: +229 30.08.39

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.
U.S. citizens should not walk on the beach, at any time of day, alone.  It is also highly recommended not to carry a passport or valuables when walking in any part of the city. They should not walk around the city after dark, and should take particular care to avoid the beach and isolated areas near the beach after dark.
Street robbery is a significant problem in Cotonou.
The ocean currents along the coast are extremely strong and treacherous with rough surf and a strong undertow, and several people drown each year.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  77.85 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 53.44 years   (male 52.28/female 54.63)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: Yellow Fever
Recommended: Hep A & B, Typhoid, Rabies, Meningococcal Meningitis, Polio,
Boosters: DPT, MMR

Infectious Disease Concerns:

degree of risk: very high Malaria risk area in Benin: All
Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and onchocerciasis (river blindness) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in West Africa. Schistosomiasis can be contracted in fresh water in this region. Many countries in this region have high incidence rates of tuberculosis and high HIV prevalence rates.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical facilities in Benin are limited and not all medicines are available. Not all medicines and prescription drugs available in Benin are USFDA-approved.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 0
Referrals: 18
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

African trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness) has increased in Africa and an increase of the disease in travelers has been noted since 2000. Polio outbreaks were reported in several previously polio-free countries in Central, Eastern, and Western Africa beginning in 2003.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) has been found in poultry populations in several countries in Africa. Avoid all direct contact with birds, including domestic poultry (such as chickens and ducks) and wild birds, and avoid places such as poultry farms and bird markets where live birds are raised or kept.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +229
Internet Country Code:  .bj


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