Back

Country Reports

Benin Country Report

Content provided by
IHS Markit Logo

Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President Talon, elected in 2016, is likely to stand for a second term in 2021 after parliament rejected his proposed constitutional reform restricting presidential mandates to one seven-year term. However, protest risks are high in Benin ahead of legislative polls due on 28 April 2019 after the exclusion of key opposition parties from the right to stand in the upcoming election. Demonstrations have already taken place in the main cities of Cotonou and Porto Novo, and are likely to turn violent as the election date approaches. Strikes against Talon’s privatisation programme increase the likelihood of cargo disruption and delays at Cotonou port. Terrorism risks have risen in northern Benin as jihadist violence spreads in neighbouring Burkina Faso. Increased attacks in southeastern Burkina Faso indicate that jihadists, most likely affiliated to Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), are operating from rear bases in the Parc National du W, which spans the borders of Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Tourists and aid workers in this area face an elevated risk of kidnap. Piracy risks are high in Beninese waters. Economic growth is currently projected to average 6% in 2019–23. Benin continues to rely heavily on its cotton sector (40% of GDP), a lucrative cross-regional transportation industry (supported by Cotonou port), and its larger neighbour Nigeria, with which transit trade accounts for 20% of GDP. This leaves the country exposed to global cotton price movements and Nigeria's economic performance. Efforts to enhance external competitiveness via the rejuvenation of Cotonou port also should contribute to higher growth projections over the next four years. Benin's greatest opportunity for longer-term growth likely lies in its yet-to-be developed hydrocarbon sector. A number of companies are currently exploring its offshore waters for viable crude oil deposits.
Last update: March 26, 2019

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, although President Talon's 'Revealing Benin' programme aims to expand this. Container traffic is expected to reach one million TEU by 2030. Talon's privatisation process is gaining traction, but he faces strong opposition protests, particularly from Cotonou port workers, which heighten disruption risks to cargo movements. Companies operating in the country face several operational difficulties, including corruption and regular strike action.

Last update: March 26, 2019

Terrorism

Elevated

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.

Last update: September 4, 2018

War Risks

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.

Last update: March 26, 2019

Social Stability

High

Anti-government protests are likely to increase ahead of parliamentary elections on 28 April 2019 due to the opposition's exclusion from the poll. Social and economic protests, and widespread strike action triggered by President Talon's privatisation policies, high living costs, and low salaries will also 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. Protests are likely to degenerate into violent confrontations, with police using tear gas and baton charges against stone-throwing demonstrators.

Last update: March 26, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

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).

Last update: April 5, 2019

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: April 5, 2019