Republic. Gained independence from France in 1960.
Head of state:
President Thomas Boni Yahi since 2006.
Head of government:
President Thomas Boni Yayi since 2006.
220 volts AC, 50Hz.
Benin, formerly known as Dahomey, was one of the first countries in the 1990s to successfully effect the transition from dictatorship to a pluralistic political system. Today, it is one of the most stable countries in Africa.
Although Benin has seen economic growth over the past few years, and has a high standing with the international community, it remains among the world's poorest countries. Within West Africa, Benin enjoys stable relations with Nigeria, the main regional power. The only significant problem has been a long-running border dispute with Benin's northern neighbour, Niger, over ownership of islands in the Niger River. This was finally resolved by the International Court of Justice in July 2005, which awarded 16 islands to Niger and nine to Benin. Both countries accepted the ruling.
Last updated: 21 July 2014
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
There is no formal British diplomatic representation in Benin. If you need consular assistance you should contact the British High Commission in Accra. There is a Community Liaison Officer in Benin who may be able to help in an emergency.
There is an underlying threat from terrorism, including kidnapping.