- Get to know Benin
- Symbols of the State
|Flag||The flag of Benin was adopted on November 16th, 1959 and was used for the first time on August 1st, 1960. It is composed of two horizontal stripes, one yellow (top) and the other red (bottom), and a vertical green stripe on the side of the pole with a width of 2/5 of the total length of the flag.
The meaning of the colours is explained in the National Anthem of Benin named Aube Nouvelle “New Dawn”: the green refers to the hope linked to democratic renaissance, the red means courage and the yellow represents wealth. Those are colours of pan-African movement. The flag as such was abandoned in 1975 during the revolutionary period under the Marxist and Leninist regime of President Mathieu Kerekou, Former President of Benin, but was restored from August 1st, 1990 subsequent to the historical National Conference of Benin which was held in Cotonou from 26 through 28 February 1990.
|Coat of Arms
|The coat of arms of Benin was reinstated in 1990 after being replaced during the period of the People’s Republic of Benin (1975-1990).
It is a shield bearing:
– On the first silver quarter, a golden traditional fort (Tata-Somba) with four pavilion-type towers;
The shield is sustained by two naturally speckled panthers. On the top of the shield, there are two sandy cornucopias (black) full of corn.
|The State Seal with the form of a disc represents:
– On the front, a dugout canoe marked with six five-pointed stars sailing on waters, surmounted by an arc with a leafy arrow sustained by two royal staffs and, below, a banner with the motto «FRATERNITY – JUSTICE – LABOUR » and the surrounding inscription “Republic of Benin”; and
Benin has two (02) types of climate:
- In the south, an equatorial climate with high humidity, alternating dry season (November-March and mid-July to mid-September) and rainy seasons (April to mid-July and mid-September to October).
- In the centre and north, a tropical climate. A dry season from November to April and a rainy season from June to September.
Harmattan, a hot and dry wind from the Sahara, blows across the country during the dry season.
In Cotonou, temperature amplitudes are low: the highest temperatures vary from 28 to 32 °C while lowest temperatures range from 23 to 26 °C. Annual rainfall in the city is 1245 mm.
- Benin at a glance
|Official name||Republic of Benin|
|Geographical location||West Africa|
|Time zone||GMT + 1|
|Boundaries||Burkina Faso: 306 km; Niger: 266 km; Nigeria: 773 km; Togo: 644 km; Maritime: 121 km.|
|Area||112,622 sq. km|
|Capital||Porto-Novo (official); Cotonou (economic hub and seat of Government)|
|National Day||1st August 1960|
|Political system||Multiparty system with presidential form of Government; one-chamber Parliament|
|Major national languages||Fon, Adja, Yoruba, Batonu|
|National anthem||Aube Nouvelle (New Dawn)|
|Main religions||Indigenous (birthplace of Voodoo), Christianity, Islam|
|Currency||1 EURO = 655.655 XOF (Franc CFA)|
Covering an area of 112,622 sq. km, Benin is bordered to the West by Togo, to the East by Nigeria, to the North by Niger and Burkina Faso and to the South by the Atlantic Ocean. The Gulf of Benin harbours many beaches. The political capital is Porto Novo, while Cotonou is the economic hub, with a competitive port.
- Currency: The currency is CFA Franc (1 Euro equals 655.95 CFA Francs). You can make changes at your arrival to the airport. Several banks and exchange offices in Cotonou are authorized for the exchange of currencies and travellers checks. Credit cards are not widely used in the country, except in hotels and some restaurants and shops.
- Climate: The climate is tropical, hot and humid on the vast majority of the territory, with some variations according to seasons and regions. The North of the country consists mostly of savannah and mountains with a semi-arid climate, while the South consists of a low coastal plain with many swamps, lakes and lagoons.
- Health: An International Vaccination Certificate or World Health Organization card is required.
- Vaccinations: Three vaccinations are required for Benin: yellow fever, meningitis and typhoid. It is also advisable to be immunized against hepatitis and cholera. Also ensure protection against tuberculosis, tetanus and malaria.
- Electricity: 220V
Transport in Cotonou and in cities across the country is provided by motorcycle taxis commonly called “Zémidjan” recognizable by their shirts in various colours depending on the city (yellow in Cotonou). You also can rent cars for your trips.
- Telecommunications: In the field of telecommunications, in addition to the incumbent telephone operator “Benin Telecom Infrastructures SA”, with its 4G branch “be. Telecoms”, there are five mobile operators, namely:
Libercom: 01 BP 5959 Cotonou Benin Tel: + 229 21 31 46 68 or 21 31 69 02
Bell Benin: http://www.bellbenin.bj
Glo Benin: http://www.gloworld.com/bj/en/
You can subscribe to one of these operators as soon as you arrive at the airport upon presentation of identification. Phone calls abroad are easy from Cotonou. Cyber café are available in major cities.