Benin Country Report
Patrice Talon's victory in the March 2016 presidential election with 65.37% of the vote provided him with a strong mandate, but he maintains he will not remain in power beyond his two-term limit. However, he faces growing opposition ahead of legislative elections in 2019, and his privatisation policy has sparked considerable unrest, notably at Cotonou port, where strikes are increasingly prevalent. Benin continues to have good bilateral relations with China and France, which have invested heavily in infrastructure. Talon's request for two companies to withdraw from a rail project in favour of China heightens contract alteration risks. Benin's troop contribution to fighting Islamist extremist groups raises risks of jihadist attacks, while Nigeria-based pirates pose a threat to vesselsin Beninese waters.
Benin welcomes foreign investment without restrictions on any particular country. Its infrastructure is centred on the economic capital Cotonou, where the international seaport and airport are located. Container traffic is expected to reach one million TEU by 2030. The privatisation process is gaining traction, given President Talon's policy of liberalising the economy, but has faced strong opposition, particularly from Cotonou port workers, which heightens disruption risks to cargo movements. Companies operating in the country face several operational difficulties, including corruption and regular strike action.
Kidnap risks to tanker crews by Nigeria-based pirates have increased following three attacks in Beninese waters in early 2018. Crews were eventually released, most likely after a ransom payment. Benin's support for counter-terrorism efforts in Mali and Nigeria poses a low risk of attack by Islamist militants; however, jihadists lack entrenched networks in the country. Attacks would likely occur in Cotonou, targeting upmarket hotels frequented by foreigners. In the event of suicide bombings, these are more likely to take place in public areas, including Cotonou's Dantokpa Market and border areas, in particular Seme-Kraké.
Interstate war risk is low given Benin's preference for negotiated settlements over border disputes and it security co-operation with neighbours. Sporadic and localised cross-border skirmishes with mainly Nigerian communities and traders do occur but are unlikely to degenerate into inter-state military confrontations, particularly as Benin relies on Nigeria for gas supplies. Oil and gas resources along the maritime border do not increase war risks, as the countries have agreed to jointly exploit the resources. Despite protests against President Talon's privatisation policies, all-out civil war is unlikely.
Social and economic protests, and widespread strike action triggered by President Talon's privatisation policies, high living costs, and low salaries will likely continue in the six-month outlook. The port and government facilities in the commercial capital, Cotonou, will be hotspots for demonstrations co-ordinated by trade unions or the FSP civil society and opposition coalition. Impromptu protests are likely to degenerate into violent confrontations, with police using tear gas and baton charges against stone-throwing protesters.
Vaccines Required to Enter the Country
Yellow fever: The government requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.
Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers
Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is recommended for all travelers.
Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers
Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.
Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).
Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.
Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers
Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.
Meningococcal meningitis: This vaccine is recommended for travel to the "meningitis belt" during the dry season (December to June). There are several types of meningococcal vaccines. None offer full immunity and some require periodic booster shots. Consult your doctor to determine which is best for you depending on medical history and travel plans.
Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).
The climate in the south of the country is equatorial with high levels of humidity. The dry seasons last from November until March and again from mid-July until mid-September; the rainy seasons last from April until mid-July and again from mid-September until October.
The climate is tropical in the north; the dry season there lasts from November until May and the rainy season from June until September. Temperatures along the coast are tolerable, though temperatures often soar above 40°C in the north where there is, fortunately, dry air and cool nights. The Harmattan, a hot and dusty wind, blows across desert regions during the dry season.
|Hospital (C.N.H.U):||21 30 01 55|
|State Police:||21 31 58 99|
|Urban Security Cotonou:||21 31 20 11|
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz