Benin is one of Africa's largest producers of cotton and much of the population is dependent on subsistence agriculture.
Porto-Novo is Benin's official capital, but Cotonou is the seat of government, chief port and largest city. Benin's official language is French.
Benin is a member of the African Union, La Francophonie and the Economic Community of West African States.
The Australian Ambassador to Benin is resident in Abuja, in neighbouring Nigeria. Benin's Ambassador to Australia is based in Tokyo, Japan.
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Heads of Government