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Benin

Benin, officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north; its short coastline to the south leads to the Bight of Benin.

Benin location in Africa

Its size is just over 110000 km2 with a population of almost 8,500,000. Its capital is the Yoruba founded city of Porto-Novo but the seat of government is the Fon city of Cotonou.

A democratic government between 1960 and 1972 was followed by a self-proclaimed “Marxist-Leninist” dictatorship between 1972 and 1991, which was highly repressive and led to economic collapse. Multiparty elections have taken place since 1991. About a third of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 per day. Main income sources are subsistence agriculture and cotton.

Government of Benin (French)

Thousands displaced after heavy flooding in Burkina Faso

According to the United Nations’ humanitarian agency, severe flooding in Burkina Faso has affected over 100,000 people, following the country’s heaviest rainfall for ninety years.

Thousands of homes in the vicinity of Ouagadougou, the country’s capital, have been destroyed by the waters. Officials requested international aid for those affected by the disaster.

“I would like to join the government’s appeal for blankets, clothes and food, because there really is an urgent need for these things,” Ouagadougou’s mayor Simon Compaore said. Read More…

Internet access off in west Africa

SAT-3 cable damage caused internet blackouts in multiple west African countries including Benin, Togo, Niger, and Nigeria. Togo and Niger were “completely offline” and Benin was able to “reroute its net traffic through neighboring countries.”

SAT-3 Map

SAT-3 Map

However, the three nations were able to use alternative satellite links in order to maintain some Internet communication with the rest of the world. Nigeria suffered a 70% loss of bandwidth that caused problems in banking, government and other mobile networks.

President of the Nigeria Internet Group, Lanre Ajayi, said, “[the cable is] a critical national resource because of its importance to the economy and to security.”

Two weeks may pass before the cable is fixed.

Bush starts off Africa trip in Benin

Yayi and Bush met at the White House

Yayi and Bush met at the White House

U.S. President George W. Bush, accompanied by his wife Laura, began his five-nation trip to Africa today in Benin, where he met with President Yayi Boni and participated in a joint press conference. This is Bush’s second visit to Africa and the first time any US president has visited Benin. Topics that were discussed included malaria, cotton, and the crises in Kenya and Darfur.

At the press conference, held at Cadjehoun International Airport in Cotonou, Yayi thanked Bush for coming to visit and praised him for his “great concern for Africa, its well being, and of the development of its people.” Bush then commended the government of Benin for their “fight against corruption” and “firm commitment to the investment in its people”. Read More…