Cotonou is the economic capital of the Bénin and more the big city of the Benign one. The city shelters many governmental services and diplomatic.
Known in all the Africa of the west for its market of 20 hectares (Dantokpa), its Zémidjan S (motor bike-taxis) and its Pollution (had with the use of Gasoline adulterated, the Kpayo), Cotonou is an alive city in full effervescence, well far from the caricatural image of Africa solidified in rurality.
The word " Cotonou" mean " mouth of the river of dead the " in Fon-gbe.
PopulationIts population is officially of 761.137 inhabitants in 2006, however it is very probable that the city borders the 1.2 million inhabitants. In 1960, the city did not count whereas 70.000 inhabitants, is a multiplication by 10 of the population in hardly forty years. The faces of urbanization multiply, in particular in the west of the city.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Cotonou (then called Koutonou) was inhabited only by some fishermen. It is under the reign of Glélé, king of the Dahomey (1858 - 1889) that the first Europeans settle. The territory is yielded to the France by a treaty signed with Glélé on May 19th, 1868. With his death in 1889, his/her son Béhanzin in vain tries to call into question this treaty. The city from now on officially develops then quickly.
EconomyEconomic capital, Cotonou shelters two thirds of industries of the country and is the seat of the principal companies and banks of the Benign one. The city is from now on one of the turntables of the informal commerce of under area, in particular because of the very close border with the Nigeria.
The market Dantokpa the, largest of West Africa (a billion CFA franc of exchanges per day is approximately 1,5 million euros), is the center.
The economic capital of Benign is as known in the area for its market of European second-hand cars, as it stores in immense carparks with open sky.
The local economy turns mainly around the port authority of Cotonou which is one of the large ports of the area. It trades regularly with the Europe, the America of North and the south. 90% of the commercial exchanges of the Bénin are done by sea route and thus largely by the port authority of Cotonou.
Cotonou is what one calls a " entrepôt" city; , allowing the exchange with the African countries of the hinterland (interior of the grounds: Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger…), there exists even inside the port, a free zone at the disposal of the wedged countries sahéliens.
Cependant, the city suffers from the Corruption and the illegal traffics mainly with the close Nigeria.
TransportCotonou is connected to Parakou, in the north of Benign, by the railway line of Benign-Niger.
The International airport of Cotonou ( Cadjehoun Airport , code AITA: COO) allows the connections with the principal capitals of the area and France, as well as the service road of the big cities: Parakou, Kandi, Natitingou, Djougou and Savè.
Thanks to these various means of communication, Cotonou became a crossroads for the West African trade, benefitting from the problems which Abidjan has since the Civil war of Ivory Coast.
Cotonou is located on the offshore bar between the Lac Nokoué and the Atlantic Ocean. The city is cut into two by a channel, the lagoon of Cotonou, is dug by the French in 1855. Three bridges ensure the connection between two banks.
It is because of its interesting geographical location that Cotonou will start to develop the exchanges with the adjoining countries. The city is equipped with exit doors air, maritime, river towards terrestrial Oporto Novo and of the axes which serve the whole of the under-area, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso.
ClimateThe Climat is of equatorial type with a two rainy seasons alternation and two dry seasons.
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