beninModern day Republic of Benin that achieved independence in August 1960 sits on the site of Dahomey, a West African kingdom that rose in the 15th century. The country went from a succession of military governments to a government based on Marxist-Leninist principles with the rise to power of Mathieu Kerekou. A move to a representative government with free elections contributed to the transfer of power from a dictatorship to a democracy. Benin is located in West Africa and bordered on the north by Burkina Faso and Niger, on the west by Togo, on the east by Nigeria and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean. With a land are of 112,622 sq km the population of Benin is estimated at 9.6 million people in 2012. The country’s economy remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. Growth in real output had averaged almost 4% before the global recession, but fell to 2.7% in 2009 and 3% in 2010 (CIA, 2012). Agriculture accounts for 35.5 % of the GDP, and the economy is more sensitive to fluctuations in international prices for agricultural products such as cotton and palm oil and also susceptible to natural calamities. Cotton, a key export, suffered from flooding in 2010-11, but high prices supported export earnings.

Acknowledgements

Persons responsible for this report: Andre M. Nnoung, Burt E. Swanson and Andrea B. Bohn