[Benin: report of Mission on Needs Assessment for Population Assistance] Benin: rapport de Mission sur l'Evaluation des Besoins d'Aide en Matiere de Population.
This report of a needs assessment carried out by a UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) Mission in Benin in November 1980 includes chapters on assistance needs and recommendations in the area of population; geographic, political, administrative, demographic, and socioeconomic characteristics of the country as well as socioeconomic and demographic planning and policy; demographic trends; formulation of population policy; collection and analysis of demographic data; demographic research, health; population information, education, and communication; women and development; and external assistance. Benin is characterized by low per capita income, high rates of infant, child, and maternal mortality, high fertility, and unequal population distribution combined with pressure on cultivated land. Rural exodus is fueling rapid urban growth. The population of 3.5 million in 1980 was growing at 2.97% annually. The economy is essentially agricultural. Because Benin is poor in minerals, development efforts are concentrated on agricultural and rural development, with efforts made to reduce unemployment and underemployment especially in urban areas. National objectives also are to improve the educational system and health infrastructure. The government is concerned about the high rate of mortality and morbidity and unequal spatial distribution. Although no overall population policy has been adopted, the government pursues some goals with demographic effects such as attempting to extend preventive medicine, maternal and child health services and birth spacing services to rural areas. The 1979 census is expected to furnish the government with the information necessary to formulate a population policy. The Mission recommended immediate assistance for analyzing and publishing census results, and also that a national demographic survey and migration study be undertaken. Reform of the civil registration system would enable better data to be collected. A demographic teaching and research center should be created at the University of Benin. An interministerial committee should be created to assist in formulation and implementation of a population policy. The extension of health services funded by the UNFPA should be implemented immediately and a communication component should be added.