Country: Republic of Benin

Event: Pearl-MUN 2001

Student: Talal Al Rashoud

 

 


Links to other sites on the Web:


Back to the 2000-2001 Team page
Back to the Briefing Book Library
Back to Teams
Back to Fruit Home

The Republic of Benin National Anthem

[ close ] Benin

L'Aube Nouvelle
(The Dawn of a New Day)
Original French Words

Jadis à son appel, nos aïeux sans faiblesse
Ont su avec courage, ardeur, pleins d'allégresse
Livrer au prix du sang des combat éclatants.
Accourez vous aussi, bâtisseurs du présent,
Plus forts dans l'unité, chaqu'jour à la tâche,
Pour la postérité, construisez sans relâche.

CHORUS:
Enfants du Bénin, debout!
La liberté d'un cri sonore
Chante aux premiers feux de l'aurore;
Enfants du Bénin, debout!

Quand partout souffle un vent de colère et de haine.
Béninois, sois fier, et d'une âme sereine,
Confiant dans l'avenir, regarde ton drapeau!
Dans le vert tu liras l'espor du renouveau,
De tes aïeux le rouge évoque le courage;
Des plus riches trésors le jaune est le présage.
CHORUS

Tes monts ensoleillés, tes palmiers, ta verdure,
Cher Bénin, partout font ta vive parure.
Ton sol offre à chacun la richesse des fruits.
Bénin, désormais que tes fils tous unis
D'un fraternel élan partagent l'espérance
De te voir à jamais heureux dans l'abondance.
CHORUS

English Translation

Formerly, at her call, our ancestors
Knew how to engage in mighty battles
With strength, courage, ardour, and full of joy,
but at the price of blood.
Builders of present, you too, join forces
Each day for the task stronger in unity.
Build without ceasing for posterity.

CHORUS:
Children of Benin, arise!
The resounding cry of freedom
Is heard at the first light of dawn,
Children of Benin, arise!

When all around there blows a wind of anger and hate:
Citizen of Benin be proud, and in a calm spirit
Trusting in the future, behold your flag!
In the green you read hope of spring;
The red signifies the courage of your ancestors;
The yellow fortells the greatest treasures.
CHORUS

Beloved Benin, your sunny mountains, palm trees, and green pastures
Show everywhere your brightness;
Your soil offers everyone the richest fruits.
Benin, from henceforth your sons are united
With one brotherly spirit sharing the hope of seeing you
Enjoy abundance and happiness forever
CHORUS





The Republic of Benin

 

 

Country Profile: The Republic of Benin

 

 

Political Structure:

The Republic of Benin (local name: Republique du Benin) is a republic under multiparty democratic rule. It dropped Marxism/Leninism in December of 1989 and democratic reforms were adopted in February of 1990. Benin is now a democratic country with multiple political parties, similar to the USA. Marxism, which Benin dropped, is similar to socialism and/or communism, where the government controls the businesses and all citizens, in theory, are considered equal. The transition to multiparty democratic system was completed on the 4th of April 1991, meaning that Benin officially became a democratic republic on this date. The constitution was applied in December of 1990. Benin, formerly called Dahomey, gained its independence from France on the 1st of August 1960.

The president of the Republic of Benin is President Mathieu Kerekou (since the 4th of April1996). The president of Benin is both chief of state and head of government. The vacancy (resignation, death) of the presidency is filled by the Speaker of the National Assembly. Presidents are elected by popular vote to serve a five-year term, which can be renewed only once. They should be of Beninese nationality for at least 10 years. The last election was held on March of 2001 in which President Mathieu Kerekou was re-elected. The cabinet is the Council of Ministers in which ministers are appointed by the president.

The Legislative Branch of the Beninese government is the National Assembly (local name: Assemblee Natinonale). It is comprised of 83 seats and members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms. The Member of Parliament’s (MP) 4-year mandate is renewable. There is one MP for every 70,000 inhabitants. The elections were last held on the 28th of March 1999. The results were (seats per party): PRB 27, PRD 11, FARD-ALAFIA 10, PSD 9, MADEPO 6, Alliance Etoile (Star Alliance) 4, Alliance IPD 4, CAR-DUNYA 3, MERCI 2, and others 7.

The legal system of Benin is based on French civil law and customary law. Benin has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. The judicial branches are the Constitutional Court (local name: Cour Constitutionnelle), Supreme Court (local name: Cour Supreme), and the High Court of Justice.

Benin’s political parties and their leaders are as follows: African Movement for Democracy and Progress or MADEP [Sefou FAGBOHOUN]; Alliance for Democracy and Progress or ADP [Adekpedjou Sylvain AKINDES]; Alliance of the Social Democratic Party or PSD and the National Union for Solidarity and Progress or UNSP [Bruno AMOUSSOU]; Benin Renaissance Party or PRB [Nicephore SOGLO]; Cameleon Alliance or AC [leader NA]; Car-DUNYA [leader NA]; Communist Party of Benin or PCB [Pascal FANTONDJI, first secretary]; Democratic Renewal Party or PRD [Adrien HOUNGBEDJI]; Front for Renewal and Development or FARD-ALAFIA; Impulse for Progress and Democracy or IPD [Bertin BORNA]; Liberal Democrats' Rally for National Reconstruction-Vivoten or RDL-Vivoten [Severin ADJOVI]; Movement for Citizens' Commitment and Awakening or MERCI [Severin ADJOVI]; New Generation for the Republic or NG [leader NA]; Our Common Cause or NCC [Francois Odjo TANKPINON]; Rally for Democracy and Pan-Africanism or RDP [Dominique HOYMINOU, Dr. Giles Auguste MINONTIN]; The Star Alliance (Alliance E'toile) [leader NA]; Union for National Democracy and Solidarity or UDS [Adamou N'Diaye MAMA].

The capital of Benin is the city of Porto Novo. The seat of the government is Cotonou. Other major cities include Ouidah, the voodoo and spiritual center of Benin, and Abomey, the former capital of the great Dahomey kingdom.

It is apparent that Benin enjoys a fully democratic government where the people, through presidential elections and the national assembly, control their own country.

Natural Resources:

Most of Benin’s natural resources are agricultural. The major agricultural resources and products of Benin are: cotton, corn, sorghum, cassava (tapioca), yams, beans, rice, palm oil, peanuts, cocoa, poultry, livestock, and fish. Other natural resources include crude oil, limestone, timber, salt, and mineral water. Deposits of gold, phosphates, iron ore, marble, and clay are yet to be explored.

Benin has self-sufficiency in most of the agricultural fields yet it relies on importing other commodities such as foodstuffs, tobacco, petroleum products, capital goods, and others. Benin has the capability to feed itself, though it would lack some non-essential food products if required to do so.

Benin’s primary power source is petroleum. Also, a Benin/Togo hydroelectric power plant has recently been completed on the Mono River (the Nangbeto dam), and several other small ones exist on the coast. Benin still imports approximately 270 million kWh.

Cultural Factors:

The population of Benin is 99% African with approximately 5,500 Europeans. There are 42 African ethnic groups, with the main ones being Fon and Adja (40%), Yoruba (12%), Bariba (9%), Fulani (6%), Betamaribe, and other smaller ethnic groups. French is the official language of Benin, while other important languages are Yoruba, Mina, Bariba, and Dendi. In the whole of Benin there are over 50 tribal languages. English is widely spoken and is necessarily one of the two foreign languages taught in schools. The main religions of Benin are Animism, or Voodoo (70%), Christianity (20%), and Muslim (15%).

There are presently no known serious and/or violent conflicts between any political/ethnic/religious groups in Benin. Benin’s history, on the other hand, has seen many conflicts in the form of coups and revolutions. In fact, Benin has the third highest number of coups in Africa. The rule went back and forth between tribal and ethnic groups, Marxists/Leninists, democratic groups, and other Beninese groups.

Defense:

The Beninese Military is composed of two branches: the Armed Forces (includes the Army, Navy, and Air Force), and the National Gendarmerie. The minimum age for military service is 18 and both sexes are liable for military service. The amount of population available for military service is for males (aged 15-49), 1,402,566 and for females (aged 15-49), 1,445,082. The amount of population fit for military service is for males (aged 15-49), 717,289 and for females (aged 15-49), 732,196. The amount of population reaching military age annually is for males, 69,065 and for females, 67,961. The amount of Benin’s total military expenditure is $27 million, which accounts for 1.2% of the GDP.

Benin is a peaceful state and is currently not involved in any armed conflict. It has no serious disagreements with other countries and therefore has no enemies. Also, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has recently signed an agreement with Benin for the siting of the community's fourth conflict observatory headquarters zone in Cotonou. The establishment of the observatory zones is part of the initiative for the implementation of the ECOWAS Mechanism for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in the sub-region. This observatory would gather information of conflicts, if they were to appear, and transmit it to the central base in Abuja, Nigeria, for analysis. Benin is the second country after Burkina-Faso to sign the headquarters agreement for the observatory.

Geography:

Benin is located in West Africa and covers a land area of 112,622 sq km (land: 110,622 sq km water: 2,000 sq km). It is bordered on the north by Burkina Faso (306 km) and the Republic of Niger (266 km), on the east by the Federal Republic of Nigeria (773 km), and on the west by the Republic of Togo (644 km). It faces the Gulf of Guinea on its south side with 124 kilometers of coastline. Benin stretches north to south some 672 km while its breadth extends 324 km at the evident point. Its maritime claims are 200 nm of territorial sea. It is comparatively slightly smaller than the state of Pennsylvania or more than two-thirds the size of Portugal. Benin lies in the GMT+1 time zone.

Benin can be divided into five natural regions. The first is a low, sandy coastal area 2 to 5 kilometers wide, bounded by lagoons. The second is a plateau zone called "La terre de barre" made of iron clay cut with marshy dips. The third is a plateau with wooded savanna extending north of Abomey to the foothills of the Atakora hills. The fourth is a hilly region in the northwest, the Atakora, with elevation ranging from 500 to 800 meters and constituting the water reservoir for the Benin and Niger Republics. Finally, the fifth of the natural regions are the Niger plains, which are vast fertile areas. The lowest point in Benin is the Atlantic Ocean (0 m) while the highest point is Mont Sokbaro (658 m). Arable land accounts for 13% of the country, while permanent crops and pastures each occupy 4%, and forests and woodland 31%.

The capital of Benin is the city of Porto Novo. The seat of the government is Cotonou. Other major cities include Ouidah, the voodoo and spiritual center of Benin, and Abomey, the former capital of the great Dahomey kingdom.

Economy:

The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. Growth in real output has averaged 4% in 1990-95 and 5% in 1996-99. Rapid population growth has offset much of this growth in output. Inflation has subsided over the past three years. Commercial and transport activities, which make up a large part of GDP, are vulnerable to developments in Nigeria, particularly fuel shortages. The Paris Club and bilateral creditors have eased the external debt situation in recent years. The government, still burdened with money-losing state enterprises and a bloated civil service, has been gradually implementing a structural adjustment program since 1991. Benin’s GDP is $8.1 billion, while the GDP per capita is $1,300. Its growth real growth rate is 5%. Agriculture makes up 34% percent of the GDP, while industry makes up 14%, and services 52%. Benin’s external debt is $1.6 billion and it has received $281.2 million in economic aid.

Benin’s export partners are Brazil (32%), Libya, Indonesia, and Spain. Export commodities include cotton, crude oil, palm products, and cocoa. The value of exports is $396 million. Benin’s import partners are France (22%), China (16%), the UK, and the Netherlands. Commodities imported include foodstuffs, tobacco, petroleum products, and capital goods. The value of imports is $566 million.

As seen before, industry accounts for only a small percentage of the gross domestic product. Industries include textiles, cigarettes, beverages, food, construction materials, petroleum, fishing, palm products, sugar, cement, breweries, and soap. The fishing and textile industry meet only local demand. The palm processing facility needs improvement. A sugar complex and a cement factory are jointly owned with Nigeria. Breweries and soap also meet only local demand.

The government of Benin strongly encourages and promotes investments from foreign and American companies. Joint ventures between the Benin private sector and American companies are needed to carry out such industrial undertakings as canning, paper processing, glass manufacturing, salt processing, agribusiness, etc.

View on World Problems:

The French Connection:

Benin closely shares its view on world problems with that of France. Benin gained its independence from France and its official language is still French. Benin’s legal system is also based on French civil and customary law, and Benin is a member of the Paris club. An ongoing French factor is also the National Gendarmerie. France is a key trading partner of Benin and is on the top of the list of import partners with a respectable 22% of import trade. The country’s monetary unit is the CFA franc, also a reminder of Benin’s colonial past.

Benin participates in the following international organizations: ACCT, ACP, AFDC, ECA, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIPONUH, MONUC, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WADB, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTOO, WTRO.

Benin is a party to the following international environmental agreements: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, and Wetlands. Benin has ratified all agreements it has signed.

Benin has no international disputes. Transnational issues include Benin being a transshipment point for narcotics associated with Nigerian trafficking organizations and human rights and racism issues. Benin is a proud, upstanding member of the OAU and other regional and international organizations. A recent example of this is it’s recent agreement with ECOWAS, mentioned earlier. Benin maintains healthy relations with its neighbors, the West African nations, and many other countries worldwide. Benin also has joint-venture industrial projects with neighboring countries such as Nigeria and Togo.

 

History:

The history of Benin is indistinguishable from that of the entire area of West Africa until the early part of the 17th century. Up until this time, the area had been divided into numerous principalities. A chief had a disagreement with his brother and moved to Abomey before conquering the neighboring kingdom of Dan, which then became known as Dahomey (Fon for ‘in Dan’s belly’). He then made a pledge that had to be repeated by each successive king: to leave more land than he inherited. This led to many wars and a particularly bad relationship with the powerful Yoruba of Nigeria.

The Portuguese soon began establishing trade posts at Porto Novo and Ouidah. Dahomey began trading with the Europeans; the hot item was prisoners of war sold into slavery in return for guns. For well over a century, an average of 10,000 slaves a year were shipped to the Americas, primarily Brazil and the Caribbean and particularly Haiti, exporting their knowledge and practice of voodoo. Benin had become perhaps the most beaten track by Europeans in Africa, and Southern Benin was dubbed ‘the Slave Coast’.

In the 1800s the French gained control of the coast, making the kingdom of Dahomey part of French West Africa. Named the ‘Latin Quarter of West Africa’, Dahomey became famous over the next century for its educated elite, employed as regional advisors. This education process backfired on the French since the locals began to speak up for themselves demanding equality. They even published a newspaper critical of the French.

After World War II the people of Dahomey modernized rapidly and in 1960 Dahomey gained its independence from France. After this there was a period of coups, revolts, and political unrest. In fact, Benin has the third highest number of coups in all of Africa. In 1974, the name of Dahomey was changed to Benin and Marxism became the official ideology of the state. In 1990, after the failure of Marxism, it was renounced and the state adopted Democracy and became the Republic of Benin that we all know and love today. The country has seen political stability with its democracy and there has been no political conflict since the country officially became a multiparty democratic republic.

 

 

The Republic of Benin

Policy Statements

Delegation: Benin

Committee: ECOSOC

Delegate: Talal S. Al-Rashoud

1- Crime prevention and criminal justice.

Crime is an important problem worldwide, and the Republic of Benin, like many other nations, does its best to uphold the law and crack down on national and international crime. The Beninese government commends all nations that do the same, such as the Russian Republic; a state that has had effective crackdown on Mafia operating within its borders. Benin’s legal system is based on French civil and customary law, which ensures justice and fairness at all times. The Beninese government also uses effective law enforcement methods to keep the crime rate in Benin as low as possible.

2- Improving the financial situation of the United Nations.

The Republic of Benin is a proud, upstanding member of the United Nations and supporter of its actions worldwide. Benin believes the financial support of the United Nations is of great importance for all countries with the capability to do so. Benin applauds all nations contributing funds to the United Nations, such as the USA from which most of the UN’s funds come, yet humbly regrets that it does not have the financial or economic capability to do so. Benin advises these countries to increase the percentage of funds allocated to the United Nations. The country suffers from a poor, but slowly improving, financial status, and is currently in debt. 33% of Beninese citizens are below the poverty line. This shows that Benin, regretfully, has financial problems of its own that must take priority for the time being.

3- Taking effective measures to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia.

Racism, discrimination, and xenophobia are important problems in many countries of the world. The Republic of Benin thinks it is essential for all governments worldwide to promote racial, religious, and ethnic equality and to encourage peace. Awareness programs, related education in schools, and community activities help to a great extent in this area. It is evident, from the ethnic and religious harmony achieved in the country and the absence of the mentioned problems, that Benin upholds these values as best it can. The fact that Benin is a true multiparty democracy ensures that all citizens get their constitutional rights.

A related problem in Benin is the child slave trade, which the government is working hard to abolish. Benin thoroughly supports, lauds, and appreciates all UNICEF actions in West Africa to eliminate this inhumane practice. Benin’s National Assembly has very recently passed a bill authorizing the country’s ratification of the International Labor Organization (ILO) convention 182 on the prohibition of the worst forms of child labor and immediate action on eliminating them. The Benin National Assembly had, in October 1999, authorized the ratification of convention 138 relative to the minimum age for working, and convention 182 completes former. In August 1990, Benin ratified the UN convention on the rights of the child and undertook to guarantee rights recognized in the said instrument. Benin has appealed to the international community for assistance in addressing child trafficking, which is a product of poverty and under-development.

4- Drug control and rehabilitation programs.

The Republic of Benin acknowledges the importance of the serious and widespread drug problem. Benin would like to again praise such nations as the USA, the Russian Federation, and France for their efforts in the war against drugs. Benin itself suffers from this problem, in that it has become a transshipment point for narcotics associated with Nigerian trafficking organizations and most commonly destined for Western Europe and the US. Beninese, Nigerian, and all ECOWAS member authorities are doing their best to crack down on drugs in the region with the current resources available.

Bibliographic information:

- "CIA – The World Fact Book 2000 – Benin." http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/bn.html

- "allAfrica.com: Benin Top News." http://allafrica.com/benin/bydate/?n=1

Countries most probably sharing similar views:

- Burkina Faso

- The Republic of Cape Verde

- The Republic of Cote D’lvoire

- The Republic of Gambia

- The Republic of Ghana

- The Republic of Guinea

- The Republic of Guinea Bissau

- The Republic of Liberia

- The Republic of Mali

- The Republic of Niger

- The Republic of Nigeria

- The Republic of Senegal

- The Republic of Sierra Leone

- Togolese Republic

- Gabonese Republic

- Republic of Cameroon

- Republic of Equatorial Guinea

 

The Republic of Benin Resolution

 

 

 

Forum: General Assembly (ECOSOC)

Delegation: The Republic of Benin

Delegate: Talal S. Al-Rashoud

Question of: Taking effective measures to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia.

 

Defining discrimination as the treatment or consideration based on class or category;

Noting that the child slave trade is a clear form of discrimination;

Defining the child slave trade as the trade of minors for work and labor purposes in which the minor receives little or no pay;

Looking upon all forms of the child slave trade as an illegal practice;

Noting with deep concern that in Central and West Africa alone, at least 200,000 children are sold into the child slave trade each year;

Further noting that the children sold into this trade are forced to do hard labor with little or no pay, are made to live in appalling conditions, and are physically and mentally abused. Some also become prostitutes;

Emphasizing the malevolency of this barbaric practice and its effects on the children and on society;

Supporting UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and all other organizations that are working to abolish this cruel and inhumane practice;

 

1- Draws the attention of the international community to this severe problem and the importance of solving it;

2- Strongly urges all countries to:

One) Reconstitute the laws in context of considering the child slave trade an illegal practice (if these laws are not already constituted),

Two) Reconstitute the laws in context of banning all forms of the child slave trade with no exceptions (if these laws are not already constituted),

Three) Taking effective measures to ensure the enforcement of the ban on child slave trading,

3- Appeals to the international community to give all help needed and to co-operate with each other to annul all forms of the child slave trade;

4- Requests that the international community fully support UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and its operations involving the child slave trade;

5- Further requests that all countries suffering from this phenomenon make their citizens aware of the problem and its severity through:

One) Awareness programs,

Two) Advertisement on television and radio,

Three) Advertisement in magazines and newspapers,

Four) Media projection,

6- Resolves that all countries where the child slave trade exists should tighten border security to prevent trans-borderal child slave trade. This would involve:

One) Increasing border security personnel at both land and sea borders and ports,

Two) Conducting thorough searches of arriving vehicles and/or parties containing large numbers of minors,

Three) The development of trans-borderal intelligence in which neighboring countries would inform each other of suspected or suspicious vehicles/parties approaching each other’s borders,

7- Further resolves that:

One) All countries should treat persons over 18 convicted of participating in trade and/or arranging the trade of minors as criminals and that they receive the adequate punishment of a 15-year jail sentence,

Two) Persons owning the vehicle in which the minors are transported (providing it is not stolen) should be required to serve a 3-year jail sentence and to pay a fine the equivalent of 5,000 US$,

Three) All minors found being traded should receive adequate care until they are claimed and/or their legal guardian/s are contacted and under no other circumstances should they be let free. Minors not claimed should be admitted to and orphanage or similar institution where they will be cared for until they reach legal age,

 

 

 

Benin’s Opening Speech

 

Honorable président et délégués, mesdames et messieurs, bonjour et salutations de la Republique du Benin.

Honorable chairman and delegates, ladies and gentlemen, good day and greetings from the Republic of Benin. Greetings from a land where the calls of exotic animals and birds are surpassed only by the beat of tribal voodoo drums. A land who’s many cultures and history combine to form a rich blend you can almost taste in the air.

Benin is here today with high hopes for the future of mankind. Since the children of today are the builders of the future, we believe that improving their status is essential. According to UNICEF, at least 200,000 children in West and Central Africa are sold into the child slave trade each year. They are forced to do hard labor, live in appalling conditions, are physically abused, and often receive no payment whatsoever. Most never see their families again. Is this how we should envision the future?

The recent slave-ship incident has placed Benin at the forefront of world attention concerning this issue. This may have caused Benin to be viewed as the root of this problem, but on the contrary, we are working with all our available resources to be part of the solution. But we cannot fight this war on our own. Benin applauds UNICEF as well as the non-governmental organizations that are striving to eradicate this cruel practice, yet more help is needed. Benin appeals to the international community to help us abolish this inhumane and illegal trade.

Merci Beaucoup

 

 

 

Acheivements At The Pearl MUN Event

The Republic of Benin

Delegate: Talal Al-Rashoud

 

The Republic of Benin played a large role in the recent Pearl MUN event. In lobbying and merging, Benin was the main submitter of a resolution co-signed by South Africa, Rwanda, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 11 countries signed the resolution. Benin also signed several other resolutions presented by the UK and Nigeria. Later on, Benin delivered an excellent opening speech to the delegates and chair. The next day, Benin presented its resolution and it passed. Benin spoke and voted against a resolution presented by Cuba on drugs as it felt that the resolution was too harsh and not in the interest of itself and the international community. The resolution was not passed. Benin was later shocked by the acts of the People’s Republic of China and asked several questions during the emergency situation. Benin then supported and spoke for a resolution presented by Brazil on drugs and the resolution passed. Benin feels it spoke a satisfactory number of times, yet because of time restraints and the decisions of the chair Benin didn’t get to say everything it wanted to. The Republic of Benin feels it could have made additional worthwhile contributions.