Africa > West Africa > Benin > Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo

Benin: Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo

2013/06/21

Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo (born 29 November 1934) is a Beninois politician who was Prime Minister of Benin from 1990 to 1991 and President from 1991 to 1996. He has been the Mayor of Cotonou since 2003. Soglo is married to Rosine Vieyra Soglo, the Beninois former Initial Lady and politician.

Soglo was born in Togo. Next receiving degrees in law and economics from the University of Paris, Soglo returned to Benin (again called Dahomey) and was the inspector of finance (1965–1967) before his cousin, Colonel Christophe Soglo, overthrew President Sourou-Migan Apithy and appointed his relative minister of finance and economic affairs.

Following the 1972 coup that brought Mathieu Kérékou to power, he left the country and held positions at international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Cotonou (kɔtɔˈnu), is the major city and economic capital of Benin, although Porto-Novo is the capital.
Its official people count was 761,137 inhabitants in 2006; however, some estimates indicate its people to be as high as 1.2 million; the people in 1960 was only 70,000. The urban area continues to expand, notably towards the west. The city lies in the southeast of the country, between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Nokoué.

In addition to being Benin's major city, it houses a lot of of its government and diplomatic services. The city is a major port, and is as well home to an airport and a railway that links to Parakou. Other features of Cotonou include Cotonou Friendship Stadium, Cotonou Cathedral, Cotonou Central Mosque, the Ancien Pont Bridge and the 20-hectare Dantokpa Market, which has a commercial turnover of over one billion CFA Francs a day. The National University of Benin is located in Cotonou. An extra familiar feature of the city is the motorcycle-taxis known as Zémidjans.

Cotonou is located on the coastal strip between Lake Nokoué and the Atlantic Ocean. The city is cut in two by a canal, the lagoon of Cotonou, dug by the French in 1855. Three bridges are located in this area. The Oueme River flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Cotonou.
The city has established transportation infrastructure inclunding air, sea, river, (to Porto Novo) and land routes that facilitate trade with its neighbors Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Togo.

The erosion of the coast has noted for several decades. It worsened in 1961 following the major work undertaken in Benin with the construction of the Nangbéto dam and deep-water port of Cotonou, in Ghana with the Akosombo Dam and in Togo at the port of Lomé. Houssou Paul, a pilot project funded by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) revealed that in 40 years, the coast to the east of Cotonou fell by 400 meters.[citation needed] This erosion has led a lot of people to leave their homes built along the coast. The Beninese national has decided to prohibit the pumping of sea and sand for the construction of protective dikes.

Cotonou features a tropical wet and dry climate, alternating with two rainy seasons (April – July and September – October, 800 to 1,200 mm of rain per year) and two dry seasons. In December and January, the city is affected by harmattan winds. Temperatures are relatively constant throughout the course of the year, with the average high temperatures hovering around 30°C, and average low temperatures at around 25°C.

Because of its status as a transport hub, Cotonou has become a crossroads of West African commerce, with much trade moving here from Abidjan because of the Ivorian Civil War. The city is a so-called "market town," enabling trade with the nations of the African interior, such as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. In addition to the port, there is a free trade zone in the interior of the city for use by the landlocked Saharan states. However, the city is rife with corruption and illegal trade, particularly with neighboring Nigeria. It can be considered the economic capital as it houses two-thirds of Benin's industries and is the headquarters of the country's major enterprises and banks.

Significant manufactured goods include palm oil and cake, brewing, textiles, and cement. Motor vehicles and bicycles are assembled, and there are as well sawmills in the city. Petroleum products, bauxite, and iron are major exports. There are as well offshore platforms drilling for oil. The city is as well a center for the automotive trade, with European brands being sold from vast open-air parking lots. In the completed, Citroën assembled cars (for instance, the Citroën 2CV and Ami 8) locally.

By 2012, Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea had significantly decreased trade at the port of Cotonou.
In the Missebo area, Cotonou is a textile market of African Print mainly handled by Indian wholesalers and retailers.

The Autonomous Port of Cotonou is one of the largest ports in West Africa. The city is connected to Parakou in the north of the country by the Benin-Niger railway. Cotonou International Airport provides service to the capitals of the region and to France, as well as the major cities of Benin: Parakou, Kandi, Natitingou, Djougou, and Savé. There are also road connections to several neighboring countries: Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Togo. A prevalent mode of transport in the city is the motorcycle-taxi, Zémidjan.

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