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Country Reports

Benin Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Patrice Talon's victory in the March 2016 presidential election with 65.37% of the vote provided him with a strong mandate. A cabinet reshuffle in October 2017 brought in nine ministers from parties that did not support his candidacy, broadening his support base ahead of legislative elections in 2019. Talon has actively sought to reduce presidential term limits, and he is unlikely to stay in power beyond his two-term limit. However, the president's policy of privatisation 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 strongly in infrastructure. Benin's troop contribution to fighting Islamist groups raises risks of jihadist attacks.Nigeria-based pirates pose a threat to vessels calling at Cotonou seaport.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Operational Outlook

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 gained traction in 2017 given President Talon's policy of liberalising the economy but has faced strong opposition particularly from Cotonou port workers. Companies operating in the country face several operational difficulties, with the most problematic areas being corruption and regular strike action.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Terrorism

Elevated

Despite Benin supporting counter-terrorism efforts in Mali and Nigeria, the country faces a low risk of attack by Islamist militants, including Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), due to the lack of entrenched jihadist 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. Nigerian-based pirates pose low kidnap risks to vessels calling at Cotonou seaport.

Last update: March 27, 2018

War Risks

Moderate

Interstate war risk is low given Benin's preference for negotiated settlements over border disputes with Nigeria, Niger, Togo, and Burkina Faso. 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 increasing protests against President Talon's privatisation policies, civil war risks remain low.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Social Stability

Elevated

Politically motivated protests eased following former president Boni Yayi's decision to cede power to democratically elected President Patrice Talon in March 2016. However, social and economic protests over Talon's privatisation policies and for improved living standards, co-ordinated by trade unions or the FSP civil society and opposition coalition, will likely continue in the six-month outlook. The port and government facilities in the commercial capital, Cotonou, will be hotspots for demonstrations. Impromptu protests are likely to degenerate into violent confrontations, with police using tear gas and baton charges against stone-throwing protesters.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Health Risk

High

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and over on year of age.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Yellow Fever: Required. A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected in an epidemic zone (for children over the age of two years). The north of Benin is regularly struck by epidemics of bacterial meningitis that often affect the Sahel region, particularly during the dry season (December-March). Travelers are strongly advised to have themselves vaccinated against this disease (anti-meningococcal A and C vaccine), particularly if travelling to the Atakora or Borgou departments.

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: June 1, 2016

Practical Information

Climate

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.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +229
Hospital (C.N.H.U): 21 30 01 55
State Police: 21 31 58 99
Urban Security Cotonou: 21 31 20 11

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: November 19, 2013