Practical Life

Time difference

When it’s 12 o’clock in Paris, it’s 12 o’clock in Porto-Novo in winter and 11 o’clock in summer.


If the official language remains French, Fongbe, the language of the majority ethnic group (the Fons), is the most widely spoken. In the North, Dendi is spoken.
Namely, a street is called a von.

Telephone and telecommunications


  • From France to Benin: 00 + 229 + the correspondent’s 8-digit number.
  • From Benin to France: 00 + 33 + the correspondent’s number without the initial 0.

There are several telephone cards that can be used in the booths: prepaid cards of 30 units, with a code, at 2,200 CFA francs, Téléplus cards of 50 units, at 3,500 CFA francs, and cards of 120 units, at 8,120 CFA francs.

The mobile phone

It is advisable to buy a local prepaid SIM card on arrival from one of the many operators represented in the mobile phone shops in the main cities of the country and often at the airport, where you will be given a local phone number and a small call credit.

Before you sign the contract and pay, if possible, try the seller’s SIM card in your phone – which has been unblocked beforehand – to check if it is compatible.

Cards to top up your call credit can be bought in these same shops, or in supermarkets, petrol stations, newspaper tobacconists, etc.

Beware, there are still areas in a large northern half of the country, as soon as you get away from a city, that are not covered by the network.


Although Benin aims to become the “digital district of Africa” (it supplies the Sahel countries), its connection capacities are still quite low and subject to technical hazards (the fire in one station in 2012 disrupted the entire network for several weeks).

Cybercentres can be found without difficulty in most of the country’s major cities, and relatively few with ADSL. Patience, it will come! On average, count 500 F.CFA per hour.