The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Benin:
Benin’s poverty rate has increased from 35.2 percent in 2009 to 40.1 percent in 2015. Ranked 167 out of 188 countries on the 2016 Human Development Index, Benin continues to struggle with a high population growth rate, a low average life expectancy and food insecurity. Some of the root causes of poverty in Benin include a vulnerable agricultural sector which employs 45% to 55% of the population, inequality in education and the economic gender gap.
The average woman in Benin has a life expectancy of 62.4, and the average man has a life expectancy of 59.7, giving Benin an overall average life expectancy of 61.1. Persons under the age of 25 accounts for 63 percent of the population. Benin only has 0.15 physicians per 1000 people. It is estimated that one percent of adults in Benin, or 67,000 people, have HIV/AIDS. About 2,161 of people with HIV in Benin die every year of the disease (2 percent of all deaths each year). Currently, the infant mortality rate in Benin is 52.8 deaths per 1000 births. This places Benin at number 23 in the world ranking of infant mortality rates.
Education in Benin has been free for 10 years. Statistics of education in Benin demonstrate uneven gender enrollment, with the gross primary enrollment rate for boys at 88.4 % opposed to 55.7 % for girls, according to a survey. Benin also ranks 35th out of 117 countries for having the most girls out of school, with 142,178 females not enrolled in primary or secondary school. Male students also maintain a better literacy rate between the ages of 15 and 24, with a 54.9 percent literacy rate, compared to female students who have a literacy rate of just 30.8 percent.
The Gender Equality Index (GEI), measures the gap between women and men in education, the economy and political empowerment. Benin’s 41 points rank it among those countries with Very Low GEI . Benin still faces an array of issues such as providing equal opportunity for education to women. Between 2008 and 2012, approximately 54.9 % of male youth between the ages of 15 and 24 were literate and only 30.8 % of female youth in the same age group were literate.
In Benin, roughly 4 in 10 children are chronically malnourished, according to the World Bank. In the north of the country, the rate of severe malnutrition, which often requires immediate hospitalization, stood at 34.6 percent in 2014.