Benin is one of the smaller countries in West Africa and also one of the world's poorest countries, qualifying for debt relief in 2000. Through its high dependency on agricultural export products and falling world market prices, Benin has difficulties escaping the poverty trap. Life in Benin remains mostly rural, and traditions prevail. Many different ethnic groups live in the country, where they settled at different times and migrated from neighboring countries.

With a population of almost 8,500,000 inhabitants, the growth in real output of around 5 percent in the past seven years has been offset by rapid population growth of around 3 percent per year. The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. Extreme poverty remains endemic ...

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