Cotonou is the economic capital of Benin, as well as its largest city. Cotonou is Benin's largest city and houses many of its government and diplomatic services. The city is a major port, and is also home to an airport and a railway that links to Parakou. Benin is in Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin, between Nigeria and Togo. The climate is tropical and hot and humid in the south, but semi arid in the north. The official language is French. A large number of people speak Fon and Yaruba. English is not widely spoken. The main religions are Indigenous beliefs, Christianity and Islam. The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production, and regional trade. Cotton accounts for 40% of GDP and roughly 80% of official export receipts. Beninois religious beliefs are a large part of society. Business clothing is usually in the form of lightweight suits. Women are prominent at all levels of business and public life. The working week is Monday to Friday, though in the north, some businesses may be closed on Friday afternoons. The security risk for expatriates in Benin is low, but medium for the border area with Nigeria. Risks include petty and armed crime, more prevalent near the Nigerian border, as well as armed crime in Cotonou. Other risks include traffic accidents, often related to the many scooter taxis, and there have been incidents of pirates attacking ships off the country's coast. The currency of Benin is the CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF). Benin is largely a cash based economy. Credit cards are not widely accepted and ATMs are limited. Medical facilities are poor and emergency facilities are extremely limited. Serious or complex medical treatment may require evacuation which can be expensive. Cholera, tuberculosis, meningitis and malaria are common. The population of Cotonou is 800,000 (2016 est.), while the inflation rate is -0.7% (June 2017).
Cost Of Living
The cost of living for expatriates / professional migrants in In Cotonou, the cost of each basket, based on local prices, compared to the international average, is categorized follows (Exact cost of living percentages only available in personalised reports): Cotonou as at 1 July 2017 is average in comparison to other places in the world. 1) Alcohol (where available) & Tobacco: High 2) Clothing: Very Low 3) Communication: High 4) Education: Very Low 5) Furniture & Appliances: Very High 6) Groceries: High 7) Healthcare: Very Low 8) Household Accommodation: Very Low 9) Miscellaneous: Very Low 10) Personal Care: Very Low 11) Recreation & Culture: High 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Average 13) Transport: Average Cotonou is for example 26.2% more expensive than Houston TX for groceries, -12.7% cheaper for household costs than Kuala Lumpur, and 14.3% more expensive for transport costs than Dubai. The hardship premium for Cotonou for an expat from Perth, is for example 30%, i.e. host location (Cotonou) premium of 40% minus home (Perth) location premium of 10%. Cotonou is ranked as a extreme hardship location. Want to know more about cost of living, hardship (quality of living) or expat salary in Cotonou? Register subscribe to your home location and Cotonou and run your personalised reports.