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HomeCountriesWest Africa › Benin

Benin Country AET Profile

About Benin

The literacy rate increased from about 20% in the mid-1970s to about 26% in the late 1980s following the adoption of legislation in 1975 making education free and compulsory. In the late 1980s about 471,000 pupils attended elementary school each year, and about 97,000 students were enrolled in secondary schools. Higher education is provided for more than 10,000 students at the National University of Benin (1970), in Cotonou, and at other institutions.

Benin is predominantly an agricultural country. About 55% of the economically active population was engaged in the agricultural sector in 2000, which accounted for 38% of GDP that year. Small, independent farmers produce 90% of agricultural output, but only about 17% of the total area is cultivated, much of it in the form of collective farms since 1975. The agricultural sector is plagued by a lack of infrastructure, poor utilization of rural credit, and inefficient and insufficient use of fertilizer, insecticides, and seeds. Smuggling of crops for export or the domestic black market results in understating of crop figures. An estimated 20% of output is informally traded with Nigeria. The main food crops are manioc, yams, corn, sorghum, beans, rice, sweet potatoes, pawpaws, guavas, bananas, and coconuts. Production estimates for the main food crops for 1999 were yams, 1,771,000 tons; manioc, 2,377,000 tons; corn, 823,000 tons; sorghum, 154,000 tons; rice, 36,000 tons; dry beans, 94,000 tons; sweet potatoes, 67,000 tons; and millet, 34,000 tons. Benin is self-sufficient in food crops, given favorable weather conditions.

Institutions in Benin

Reports on Benin
Benin - Current Student Enrolment and Academic Staffing



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