Moving to Benin

Are you considering moving to Benin? If you are looking for information on the area, and help with your move to Benin, allow us to guide you. We are able to provide you with free and personalized quotes from up to 10 international international movers with experience in safely transporting household and office possessions from door to door, internationally.

The Republic of Benin is located in the West of Africa, bordering Niger and Burkina Faso to the North, Nigeria to the East, having a water border with the Bight of Benin, and bordering Togo to the West. Benin is a hot and humid country.

Infrastructure / Job Prospects

If you are are interested in moving to Benin for work, you will find that the political stability and peace, which has held for the last decade, has allowed the economy to grow consistently. In addition, and unlike many other African countries, the economy is currently growing at rate of around 4% per year, and inflation is under control at around 3%.

Agriculture is currently the largest contributor to Benin’s economy. It accounts for around 35% of the GDP and employs 85% of the workforce. The main products are cotton and palm oil, and these industries are expected to grow long term, but Benin also produces grains and vegetables, tobacco and peanuts.

The largest sector by GDP is the service sector, which accounts for nearly 50% of GDP. The main service industries are telecommunications, art and tourism. The government has encouraged the development of a highly advanced telecommunications network, a result of an international deal. The country stands to benefit from this investment in infrastructure in the future.

The remaining part of the economy, around 15% is industrial, including textile production, food, construction materials and petroleum.

Recently Benin has focused on trying to improve tourism, marketing itself as an exclusive tourist destination. The country offers a range of tourist destinations, including Palaces, Museums and Theatres. In the northern part of the country Game tourism and Safaris are particularly popular attractions in the national park areas.

There is also a growing tourist trade to the cities of Porto Novo and Cotonou.

Porto Novo played an important role in the history of the country as a port involved in the slave trade during the time of Portuguese exploration. Nowadays it has become more important within the country since its designation as capital city and events such as the discovery of exploitable oil reserves located off the nearby coast in the early 1990s.

The Government of Benin has focused on the promotion of the tourist industry through its Action Plan. Part of the development plan has created the Fisherman’s Route coastal road which runs between Ouidah and Cotonou, the most important city in the country.

Art and Crafts are important for Benin, both in commercial terms, and culturally. The local art is a reflection of the history and tradition of the various areas of the country and the local artisan skills are often specific to the area. Cotonou is home to the Center for Artisan Promotion and offers crafts from all over the country. The most popular types of arts and crafts are wood sculpture, leather, jewellery and pottery.

Living cost and Taxes

If you want to retain a western lifestyle after moving to Benin your costs may be higher than you expect. Rent for high class properties can be fairly expensive in the major cities, and may be hard to find. It is also common to have to pay a long period of rent in advance.

Depending on your situation you may need to employ staff, for instance a nanny or security, and their wages are likely to be around $150 a month. The total cost of living for housing is likely to be around a third of that in a US city.

Food costs are very low for basics, and if you eat mostly local food it will not add significantly to your living costs.

The taxation system in Benin is currently expensive for those with high incomes. Whilst the average taxpayer would pay around 6% income tax, a higher earner would have to pay as much as 60% tax on their income!

Corporation tax is around 35%, and VAT is currently 18%


Ports are vital to the country for the import and export, in addition to its history. Benin has two important ports in Cotonou, the center of government and Porto-Novo, the capital.

Major airports

Benin has 5 airports, 2 of which have hard surface runways, the government runs all of these, including those in Cotonou, Parakou and Djougou. The main airport is in Cotonou and from here flights to international destinations are available, for instance to Lagos in Nigeria.

Important Cities and Population Density

Benin’s population is around 8 million and the population is made up of several distinct cultural groups, around 20 in total, with their own languages and traditions.

The country covers an area of around 112,000 sq km and has a population density of around 75 people per sq km.

The largest city is Cotonou, with a population of around 725,000 people, followed by the cpaital, Porto Novo with a population of around 225,000. Other major cities are Parakou and Djougou.

The population in Benin is almost entirely African (around 99%). There are currently only a few thousand Europeans in the country.

Benin Facts

The capital of Benin has a history dating back to the 16th century, when it was settled by the Portuguese. They called it Porto Novo, meaning “New Port” and the name remains today.

Benin’s first museum was The Ethnographique Museum, in Porto Novo, which houses the country’s national collection of cultural artifacts, and tells the rich history of both the city and the country.

Benin was one of the medieval kingdoms of Africa, called Dahomey. The country itself was called Dahomey until 1974 when it became the Republic of Benin.

As high as 70% of the population may practice Animism or “Voodoo” as their religion. The remaining population is split into two groups, with around 20% Muslim and 10% Christian.

The ongoing efforts to increase foreign investment are leading to an increasing western population. The majority of US and Europeans in the country are government representatives, NGO staff or those working for foreign companies with projects in Benin.

If you are looking to move to Benin, we recommend you fill out the free estimate form which will allow you to specify details of the possessions you would like to take with you when you move. We will provide you with up to ten free, personalised quotes from pre-screened, experienced, international moving companies.

Useful links:

Local Newspapers:
Country Facts: