Benin - Infrastructure, power, and communications



There are 7,500 kilometers (4,660 miles) of roads and tracks in Benin, only 20 percent of which are paved. The coastal road that runs along the Lagos-Accra route is paved, and travel between Porto-Novo and Cotonou is easy. Contracts were awarded in 1998 for the construction of another motorway from Cotonou to Porto Novo. A north-south road forms a link to Burkina Faso and Niger. Development is focused primarily on rehabilitation and feeder roads to allow farmers to market their crops more effectively.

There are 635 kilometers (394 miles) of railway line, of which 579 kilometers (360 miles) are main lines. The most important route is from Cotonou to Parekou (440 kilometers, or 273 miles), which provides an important part of the link between Niger and Cotonou. The deep-water port at Cotonou handles 2 to 2.5 million metric tons per year and processes transit trade to Burkina Faso and Niger. A World Bank study showed that the port was losing a potential US$22 million per year in container operations due to poor organization by the state handling company. Management and development of Cotonou Port is due to be transferred to a private operator, while leaving equipment

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Benin 2 108 10 N/A 1 0.2 0.9 0.04 10
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Nigeria 24 223 66 N/A 0 N/A 5.7 0.00 100
Togo 4 218 18 N/A 2 4.1 6.8 0.17 15
a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999and are per 1,000 people.
b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium ( http://www.isc.org ) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE : World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

and installations in state hands. Cotonou International Airport carries 250,000 passengers per year. There are 4 secondary airports. The private Benin Inter-Regional Airline was started in 1991 and provides local and regional flights.

In 1996 there were 30,000 telephone lines in Benin, but expansion has been underway. A 1,500 kilometer microwave network currently connects 52 exchanges, and an Intelsat station is being installed. In 1999 Alcatel (a French company) and U.S.-based Titan won a US$60 million contract for fixed and mobile phone expansion projects respectively. There are approximately 150,000 radio sets being used in Benin. Television broadcasts began in 1972, but the state monopoly over television ended in 1997. In 1998, 35 radio licenses (including 13 commercial station licenses) and 3 TV station licenses were issued. There are 13 daily newspapers.

Most of the country's energy for domestic use comes from wood fuel. Electricity is produced and imported by Communaute Electrique du Benin (CEB), Benin's state-owned electricity company. CEB relies heavily on Ghana's Akosombo dam for most of its electricity. However, this reliance produced a crisis during the 1998 Ghanaian drought, when Benin's electricity supply was severely affected. This difficulty has led to attempts to diversify electricity production facilities and moves to import generators. Togo and Benin also have a shared 65 megawatt (mw) station on the Mono River, although both are still dependent on Ghana. A second 104 mw dam is under construction on the Mono River.

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