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This growth results primarily from a birth rate that is about twice as high as the world average and a death rate that is similar to the world average. To the north, the aspect of the countryside changes as savanna vegetation increases and the population diminishes; some areas are uninhabited, except by Fulani nomads. For Billing Inquiries, or to cancel your membership, please visit Segpay. Thank You for Your Contribution! Internet URLs are the best. Substantial quantities of fish are caught annually in the lagoons and rivers, while coastal fishing produces a smaller, but growing, amount.
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The coastal region is low, flat, and sandy, backed by tidal marshes and lagoons. Now there is a huge number of possible marriage agencies and dating companies, offering a wide variety of services. Single girls and women from the former Soviet Union, getting a reputation as an exceptional woman, great housewives and mothers have captured the hearts and minds of men in USA, Canada, Western Europe and Asia. The southern zone has an equatorial type of climate with four seasons—two wet and two dry. In the dry season the harmattan , a hot, dry wind, blows from the northeast from December to March. Shrimp and deep-sea fishing are developing, using modern vessels.
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The regime that came to power in a coup attempted from to restructure the economy more or less along socialist principles and to disengage from dependence on France. Accompanying changes in the constitution and regime in the early s, the remnants and slogans of Marxism were wiped out, and privatization of the economy began. The few stretches of tropical forest that remain in Benin, mostly in the southwest and central areas, contain mahogany, iroko, teak, samba, and other tropical hardwoods.
The rivers and lagoons are rich in fish. About 70 percent of the working population depends on agriculture. Since the mids Benin has produced yams, cassava , corn maize , millet, beans, and rice to achieve self-sufficiency in staple foods. Among cash crops, the formerly predominant palm product output declined considerably in the s, but cotton output rose.
Livestock include cattle, sheep and goats, pigs, horses, and poultry. Substantial quantities of fish are caught annually in the lagoons and rivers, while coastal fishing produces a smaller, but growing, amount.
Most of the fish is exported to Nigeria or Togo. Shrimp and deep-sea fishing are developing, using modern vessels. In operations commenced at the hydroelectric installation of the Mono River Dam, a joint venture between Benin and Togo on their common southern boundary. Citizens of Benin began to transfer their savings from foreign banks.
With the advent of privatization, foreign aid and assistance grew, particularly funding for developmental projects from the United States and the European Economic Community later succeeded by the European Union , the latter of which also agreed to help pay the wages of civil servants. France continues to provide financial assistance. Benin has traditionally imported various manufactured products, machinery, chemicals, beverages, and tobacco, as well as cereals.
Benin sources its imports from several countries, including the United States and France. There are two paved, mostly two-lane, road networks. One runs parallel to the coast of the Gulf of Guinea from the Togolese border, through Cotonou and near Porto-Novo, to the Nigerian border.
The other road runs north from Cotonou, near Abomey and Dassa, to Parakou in the north. There is a railroad from Cotonou to Parakou. Another railroad, parallel to the coast, does not extend to either the Togolese or the Nigerian border. Interconnected coastal lagoons are navigable by small craft known as pirogues. An international airport in Cotonou links Benin with other countries of Africa and with Europe.
There is also limited domestic airline service. Benin has experienced much political instability and unrest. The Marxist rhetoric introduced in culminated in repressive military rule in the late s, but this had largely ceased by the early s. A National Revolutionary Assembly, elected by citizens, chose the president, who was also head of state. In December a new constitution was approved, guaranteeing human rights , freedom to organize political parties, the right to private property, and universal franchise.
Under the constitution, Benin is a multiparty republic. The president , who is directly elected to no more than two consecutive five-year terms, serves as head of state and government. The president may be assisted by the prime minister , though the position is not required by the constitution and was vacant from May —May and again from August Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly , consisting of members who are directly elected to serve four-year terms.
The constitution provides for an independent judicial branch of government. The public education system has followed the French pattern since colonial times. A six-year primary school cycle for children ages 6—11 is followed by six years of secondary education ages 12— In the mids major reforms were introduced both to conform to the then-prevalent Marxist-Leninist ideology and to shed French influence.
The reforms failed as teachers, parents, and university-bound students objected to the lowering of standards, and the reforms were largely abandoned by the late s. The University of Abomey-Calavi previously known as the University of Dahomey [—75] and the National University of Benin [—] , located in Cotonou, was founded in The University of Parakou was founded in Benin has a national health care system that maintains hospitals in Cotonou, Porto-Novo, Parakou, Abomey, Ouidah, and Natitingou, in addition to medical dispensaries, maternity centres, and other small, specialized health care facilities in these and smaller towns.
Financial aid from international organizations provides resources to compensate for a shortage of medical personnel and medications. Malaria is a health concern, especially for young children. Worship of the vodun is the original source of the Haitian religion of Vodou, which emerged as a syncretism of African, Roman Catholic, and Caribbean religious traditions by African slaves in Haiti. Like many neighbouring countries, it chose the pan-African colours red-yellow-green that had been used by the African Democratic Rally—i.
Its major tributaries include the Volta and Niger rivers. Niger River , principal river of western Africa. With a length of 2, miles 4, km , it is the third longest river in Africa, after the Nile and the Congo. The Niger is believed to have been named by the Greeks.
Along its course it is known by several names. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions. Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article.
Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Page 1 of 2. Next page Cultural life. Learn More in these related articles: Education in French colonies and former colonies flag history In flag of Benin physical geography In Benin: Relief population and demography In Benin: Ethnic groups religion African religions In African religions: Ritual and religious specialists In African religions: Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.
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