English EN French FR Portuguese PT


Politics and Governance

Form of Government:

The Benin Republican constitution defines the country as a presidential pluralistic democracy with the President serving as both head of state and head of government.

Electoral system:

The President is elected by an absolute majority of votes cast. If this is not obtained in the first round of voting, it shall be followed by a second round after a delay of fifteen days.

Term Limit and Eligibility:

The constitution gives the President a mandate of 5 years, renewable only once. Amongst others, no one may run for presidential office until s/he is at least 40 years old but not more than 70 years old on the day of filing their candidacy.

Extent of Democracy:

Afrobarometer data (2022) classifies the country as a Democracy with minor problems.

Transnational Issues:

Benin has a  border dispute with Burkina Faso near the town of Koualau.


Gross Domestic Product (GDP):

GDP as of 2021 was at 17.79 billion USD, with a per capita income of 1,428.4.

Public debt was 48.9% of GDP as of 2022 against 47% in 2020 and is expected to decrease to 46.3% in 2023.

Major Export Commodity:

Cotton is the primary driver of economic growth, contributing 40% of GDP and 80% of exports.

Extreme Poverty Rate:

Extreme poverty rate was estimated at 38.5% (4.5M) in 2019. This is an increase from 33% in 2007 to 38.5 in 2019, growing at an annual rate of 4.07%.  

Inequality Level:

The Gini coefficient was at 34.7/100 in 2019, representing a high inequality level, particularly between the educated urban class and the majority of the rural poor. Inequality in education was 43.7%, and inequality in income was 32%.

Rate of Unemployment:

The rate of unemployment is at 2.4%, with a high level of underemployment (72%)

Youth Unemployment:

Youth unemployment (15-24 years) is at 3.9%, with males constituting 3.2% and a female unemployment rate of 4.5%.

Population and Society


Benin’s population of 13.3 million with a growth rate of 3.36%, high above the global average of 1.1%

Ethnic Groups:

There is no ethnic homogeneity in Benin. The Fon/Dahomey is the largest (39%) ethnic group, followed by the Yoruba (18%), the Adja (15%), and Bariba (9%), amongst others like the Fulani, Ottamari Lukpa, Dedi, including a small section of foreigners.


Christians constitute 48.5% of the population; Muslims (predominantly Sunni)  27.7% ; Voodoo practitioners 11.6%, 2.6% are members of indigenous religious groups, and 5.8% declare no religious affiliation.