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This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.

Even as it struggles to address persistent economic challenges and general social discontent, the government of Benin is working closely with UNICEF to create a healthier environment for children. Visible results have been achieved in reducing infant mortality, halting human trafficking and preventing the mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

Issues facing children in Benin

  • Under-5 mortality is still very high: About 150 of every 1,000 children born in Benin will die before their fifth birthday.
  • Widespread poverty is increasing the vulnerability of children and hindering the implementation of many social programmes.
  • Only half of children who begin attending the first grade will complete primary school.
  • Benin’s educational system faces a shortage of trained teachers (especially female teachers) and well-constructed schools. Teachers’ strikes have disrupted efforts to enrol and retain students.
  • Many children have to travel long distances to the nearest school, which poses a particular hurdle to girls’ attendance.

Activities and results for children

  • Child survival rates are improving. Noteworthy progress has been achieved in the regions where UNICEF has implemented its Accelerated Child Survival and Development Strategy.
  • In the areas where UNICEF is making special efforts, some 90 per cent of pregnant women are now screened for HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. More than two thirds of pregnant women and young children in these regions sleep under insecticide-treated mosquito nets to reduce their exposure to malaria.
  • No polio or guinea worm cases have been registered in recent years, raising hopes that the diseases are near eradication.
  • Forty medical centres are providing free anti-retroviral treatment to more than 4,000 people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • National primary school enrolment rates have risen dramatically in the past several years. The “All Girls to School” campaign is helping raise community awareness of every girl’s right to an education. 
  • Nearly 2,000 teachers have attended training on life skills–based education, HIV/AIDS issues, gender equality and the rights of the child.
  • In 122 schools, over 1,000 older girls are mentoring about 2,500 younger girls to keep them focused on their studies.
  • The government has assumed financial responsibility for paying the salaries of community teachers. Eliminating the school fees previously paid by parents has boosted attendance rates.
  • The governments of Benin and Nigeria have signed a joint agreement to combat human trafficking and punish offenders.
  • UNICEF provided water and sanitation assistance to more than 10,500 Togolese refugees in Benin.
  • UNICEF and its partners provide psychosocial and legal support to children in conflict with the law.



Basic Indicators

Under-5 mortality rank


Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR), 1990


Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR), 2012


U5MR by sex 2012, male


U5MR by sex 2012, female


Infant mortality rate (under 1), 1990


Infant mortality rate (under 1), 2012


Neonatal mortality rate 2012


Total population (thousands) 2012


Annual no. of births (thousands) 2012


Annual no. of under-5 deaths (thousands) 2012


GNI per capita (US$) 2012


Life expectancy at birth (years) 2012


Total adult literacy rate (%) 2008-2012*


Primary school net enrolment ratio (%) 2008-2011*


Definitions and data sources [popup]

Source: The State of the World's Children

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