Watch: Cotonou, economic centre of Benin.
Benin in Brief
Capital : Porto-Novo
Language : French
Population : 9,2 million inhabitants
Surface : 112 622 km²
National Holiday : 1st August
President of Republic : Thomas Boni YAYI (since March 2006)
Currency : Franc CFA
1€ = 655.957 FCFA
1 000 FCFA = 1.5 €
Non-ECOWAS citizens are required to obtain a visa. It is issued by the Consulate for 45-200 euros depending on the visa requested.
- Documents required:
o A photo ID
o Passport whose validity must cover at least the entire length of stay, plus 6 months.
o Photocopy of on-way/return airfare or certification of the Travel Agency of the actual purchase of the ticket
We also recommend that visitors get vaccinated against yellow fever (mandatory), hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid fever and meningitis.
It is highly recommended for visitors to protect against malaria.
Calendar of Traditional and National holidays
1st January (New Year's Day)
1st May (Labour Day)
1st August (National Holiday)
Easter - Ascension - Pentecost - Assumption - All Saints - Christmas - Ramadan - Tabaski
The feasts are very vivid in Benin and do not take place at fixed dates.
Some examples are: The Gani (September to December) and Major customs Fon and Mahi (November-February).
Cotonou, formerly Kutonu, is the largest city and economic centre of Benin. In addition to being Benin's largest city, it is also the seat of government (even though Porto-Novo is the official capital); it is home to most of the country's government buildings and diplomatic services.
The city is a major port, and is also home to an airport and a railway that links to Parakou. Other features of Cotonou include Cotonou Friendship Stadium, Cotonou Cathedral, Cotonou Central Mosque, the Ancien Pont Bridge and the 20-hectare Dantokpa Market, which has a commercial turnover of over one billion CFA Francs a day. The National University of Benin is located in Cotonou. Another familiar feature of the city is the motorcycle-taxis known as Zémidjans.
The city has established transportation infrastructure including air, sea, river, (to Porto Novo) and land routes that facilitate trade with its neighbours Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Togo.
Temperatures are relatively constant throughout the course of the year, with the average high temperatures hovering around 30 °C (86 °F), and average low temperatures at around 25 °C (77 °F).