Benin. President Thomas Boni Yayi was elected President of the African Union (AU) in January for a year. He succeeded Equatorial Guinea’s president in the post.
In June, Yayi hosted the annual Nordic-African summit, which included, among others, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the country in August as the last arrest during a tour of Africa. In late October, European Commission President José Mario Barroso made his first visit there. In addition to entering into a loan agreement of EUR 50 million, Barroso and Yayi discussed the crisis in West African Mali.
Just before Barroso’s visit, a suspected plot against the president was revealed. Yayi’s doctor, a sibling and a former trade minister were arrested, suspected of planning to poison the president by exchanging his medicine for poison. Shortly thereafter, an arrest warrant was issued against a businessman, Patrice Talon, who had previously funded the presidential election campaigns as well as a companion to Talon. Talon, who was abroad, denied the charges. Arguments about business contracts were mentioned as a possible motive for the plot.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for Benin. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
Pirate attacks continued off the coast of Guinea during the year and spread west toward Togo. Up to September, the number of reported attacks was slightly higher than in the corresponding period in 2011. The pirates in the Gulf of Guinea are often focused on stealing cargo, e.g. oil, and the risk of violence is great, warned international shipping organizations. Benin and neighboring Nigeria continued to patrol the waters, and Benin hosted a conference on anti-piracy.
According to countryaah, the population of Benin in 2012 was 10,575,841, ranking number 85 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.830% yearly, and the population density was 93.7917 people per km2.
Dahomey has two railway lines: the central railway and the east railway. The central railway (300 km.) Joins Cotonou to Savé passing through Allada and Abomey and from it branches off a section from Pakou to Segborué to Ouidah (30 km.); a road of 483 km., passable by cars in any season, goes from Savé to Gaya on the Niger. Extensions of the central railway are planned towards Niger and Upper Volta, and a line from Segborué to Anecho is also planned, which would connect the railway network of Dahomey with that of Togo. The Eastern railway (80 km.) Connects Porto Novo to Pobé with a branch for Sakéte. Cotonou, Ouidah and Grand Popo are external bays, where the ships fish offshore, and the discharges must be made by means of pirogues that cross the dam; Cotonou, the main port of the colony, it has a quay; a regular navigation service is necessary in the lagoons; the Cotnnou lagoon communicates with that of Porto Novo and this with Lagos (Nigeria).
Trade in Dahomey reaches a movement of 295 million (of which 159 for imports and 136 for exports). Imports mainly consist of manufactured items, cotton fabrics, sugar, petroleum, matches, tobacco; exports of palm nuts (48,000 tons, worth 85 million), palm oil (18,000 tons, worth 42 million), cotton (726 tons, worth 6 million), corn, dried fish. In imports France participates for 59 million, Great Britain for 54 and the United States for 19; France participates in exports for 32 million, Germany for 47, Great Britain for 37.
For the eastern part of Togo, which – by virtue of a Franco-English agreement of 1919 – was placed under a French mandate, see to the entry togo.