According to itypeusa, Benin today boasts a good degree of stability, despite still being characterized by a situation of strong underdevelopment and widespread poverty. Having gained independence from France (1960), the country, then called Dahomey, witnessed a period of great tension which was followed by a coup d’état and a twenty-year government of Mathieu Kérékou (1972-91). By this time Benin had officially adopted the Marxist-Leninist ideology, which was abandoned after the fall of the Berlin Wall. After the introduction of multi-partyism, approved by a referendum in August 1990, and his first electoral defeat, Kérékou returned to the post of president from 1996 to 2006. Current president Thomas Yayi Boni was elected as successor. reconfirmed in the electoral round of March 2011 with a parliamentary majority higher than that of 2007. In October 2012 Boni was the victim of an attempted poisoning which was followed, on charges of conspiracy, by the arrest of three personalities close to the president, later released. As a result of this event, in August 2013, Boni carried out a government reshuffle. In 2015, Boni’s party won the parliamentary elections but was unable to obtain an absolute majority of seats, necessary to change the Constitution and allow Boni to run for the third term. Boni then announced to withdraw from politics, averting, for now, the danger of an authoritarian drift.
Most of the population is concentrated in the south. Conspicuous presences of Muslims and Christians persist, a legacy of trade ties with Arab countries, colonization and the presence of European missionaries.
A peculiarity of the political and socio-economic system of Benin is the strong influence of trade unions, especially in the fields of education and public administration: the ability to pressure trade unions on the government contributed decisively to the democratization process of the 1990s. and, even today, it partly influences political decisions. Despite the progress in the political field, the country is still burdened by structural problems at the economic level that reflect a condition of general backwardness. Development indices show that the resources dedicated to health, education and social services generally remain inadequate. Among others, the literacy rate is still at 38.4% of the population.
The country’s economic difficulties are closely linked to its strong dependence on a single product, cotton. About two million people depend on this resource, a large portion of the country’s GDP and exports. Regional trade relations, mostly related to shipping and maritime trade, are vital for Benin, which has good relations with Nigeria and Niger. Furthermore, Benin is increasingly linked to China, the first trading partner, and to India, the second destination for national exports.
DAHOMEY. – The Dahomey, now an independent republic (Benin), was the smallest territory in French West Africa (115,762 km 2; 1,713,000 residents), Although it was the most densely populated (14.8). Among the coastal centers is Porto Novo (33,500 residents), The capital, but most of the trade takes place through the port of Cotonou (21,300 residents). Ouidah military and missionary center (15,000 residents). In Avrankou and Gbada, oil extraction plants have sprung up. On the central plateau the cultivation of the oil palm (with a plant in Bohicon) accompanies that of the oranges. Here the main center is Abomey (12,000 residents), The old capital. In Comé near Grand Popo there is a factory for the preparation of cassava flour (gari) and tapioca. Cassava and peanuts are grown almost everywhere in the country, but the main product for export is always that of the oil palm. Mining production is limited to gold; in 1952 the concession was granted for the use of the rich deposits of rutile and ilmenite (Koundé). Iron and chromium deposits were then identified.
Accepting the new French Constitution (1958), the D. organized itself as an autonomous republican state within the French Community. As such he joined (Jan. 1959) the Federation of Mali, but he broke away almost immediately due to the insistence that came from the Ivory Coast, and, with this state, Niger and Upper Volta on April 4, 1959 joined of a Council of Understanding for close political and economic collaboration. On 11 July 1960 the D. – together with the Ivory Coast, Niger and Upper Volta – concluded an agreement in Paris, obtaining independence from France, which was proclaimed on 1 August 1960. The Republic of the D was admitted to the UN on 20 September 1960.