Bizz Africa 6:49 AM IN-FOCUS

Benin is a country with intriguing set of facts. It is noted for a fascinating political history, voodoo as well as a bourgeoning tourism industry. BizzAfrica presents to you the country Benin in perspective. Geography The name Benin was derived from Bight of Benin. It is a water-body located in the Sothern region of the country. During the colonial period, Benin was known as Dahomey. The Republic of Benin is located in West Africa. The country has an area of 43,483 square miles (112,622 square kilometers). It shares borders with Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Togo. There are five distinct geographic zones. In the south, coconut palms grow on a narrow coastal strip broken by lagoons and creeks. In the north, a plateau of fertile iron clay soil interspersed with marshy areas supports oil palms. The central area is a wooded savanna with some hilly areas. The Atacora mountain chain in the northwest is the area of greatest elevation, while the northeast is part of the Niger River basin. Most of the country has a tropical climate with a dry season from November to April and a rainy season from May to October. Rainfall and vegetation are heaviest in the south. The country is divided into six departments containing eighty-four districts. The capital is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in nearby Cotonou, the largest city. Economy The Republic of Benin is an underdeveloped economy. It is greatly reliant on upon subsistence agriculture and cotton. 37.4% of the population lives below poverty line. Major industries are textiles, processed food, construction materials, and cement. Major trade flows are with China, India, Niger, Togo, Nigeria, Belgium, France, Thailand, Malaysia, and United States. Education Education is compulsory for children aged between six and eleven. After spending two to three in Kindergarten, it takes six years for them to complete and take the Primary school certificate. Overall it requires seven years to complete both Junior and Senior High School. At the end of the four first years of Junior High school, the students has to take the O-level (Brevet d’Etudes du Premier Cycle: BEPC), Then after three years the students have to take the A level (Baccalaureat: BAC) exam which is the equivalent of the US High School Degree. There are five vocational schools , located in five of the twelve provinces Atlantique littoral ( City of Cotonou), Oueme Plateau ( city of Porto-Novo), Zou Colline ( city of Bohicon) Borgou ( city of Parakou).Mono Couffo, Atakora, Donga, Alibori. Football The Benin national football team, nicknamed Les Écureuils (The Squirrels), is controlled by the Fédération Béninoise de Football. They were known as the Dahomey national football team until 1975, when Republic of Dahomey became Benin. They have never qualified for the World Cup, but have reached three recent African Nations Cups – 2004, 2008, and 2010. On 8th February 2010 after the preliminary competition from the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, the Benin Football Federation dissolved the national team, Coach Henri Dussuyer and his complete staffs were fired. On May 9, 2016, Benin was suspended from FIFA. Trivia West African CFA franc is the official currency of Benin. It’s ISO 4217 code is XOF and is issued by Banque Centrale des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Quest (BCEAO). It is generally divided into 100 centimes, although no centime denominations have been issued. French is the official language of Benin. Other languages spoken in the country are Beninese languages, including Yoruba. August 1 is celebrated as the National Day of Benin. Benin achieved independence from France on August 1, 1960.

CREDITED: Maps of World

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