Benin—Strategic Orientations of the Government

Benin—Strategic Orientations of the Government

The administration of President Yayi Boni aims to transform Benin’s economy and the political system into a modern one. To achieve its goals, Benin organized an economic roundtable in Paris in June last year. At the end of this roundtable, participating governments, as well as partners from the public and private sectors pledged USD 12 billion to finance the various programs and projects in Benin.


Over the next five years, Benin intends to accelerate economic growth to reach at least an 8 percent increase and to raise the current investment rate from 19 percent to 28 percent. Benin is a stable and peaceful democracy that has never faced civil war and became one of the preferred destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa.

Benin is a stable and peaceful democracy that has never faced civil war and became one of the preferred destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa.

To facilitate Benin’s economic development, the government is focusing on stimulating and developing the private sector. The strategic orientations defined by the Beninese Government to reach its goals are the following:

  1. Rebuilding an efficient and modern administration to assist the development of the private sector.
  2. Reorganizing a stable macroeconomic environment and maintaining its stability.
  3. Promoting a renewed economy through the establishment of an economic and institutional environment of international standards and the diversification of production.
  4. Developing infrastructure.
  5. Strengthening human resource capacity.
  6. Ensuring a balanced and sustainable development on the national territory.

Benin–Bilateral relations with Japan

Japan is one of the Benin’s stronger political allies and has supported various programs over the years, which underlines their positive and cooperative bilateral relations. This year, Benin celebrates the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Japan. Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) to Benin—both in grants and loans—has been critical in the improvements of Benin’s infrastructure, health care system, education and agriculture.

H.E. Mr. Zomahoun D.C. Rufin, Ambassador of the Republic of Benin in Japan, makes a great effort to promote bilateral relations by engaging many Beninese citizens through the IFE Foundation, a Non-Profit Organization that he established in Benin’s economic capital, Cotonou. Thanks to this foundation’s activities, Japanese volunteers have the opportunity to go to Benin and teach Japanese language, culture and history in “Takeshi Nihongo Gakko”. The Japanese language school opened in 2003, and is the only free Japanese language facility in Africa.

Additionally, around fifty students from Benin came to Japan thanks to scholarship programs to study agriculture, medicine, technology and communication in the faculties of many prestigious universities such as Tokyo University, Yamagata University, Tsukuba University and Kumamoto University.

Investment

Benin is an important commercial crossroad in West Africa, located on the Gulf of Guinea. Its largest city, Cotonou is an economic and transportation hub. Transshipment takes a significant place in the general traffic of the Port of Cotonou, which is willing to take it upon itself to function as both a transit and regional port. The port facilitates transshipping for Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger. In addition to the port, a free trade zone was established inside the city to be used by the landlocked Saharan States.

Benin has an Industrial Free Zone (IFZ) where the investors benefit from a number of custom and tax incentives. To be authorized to establish itself in the IFZ, a company must fulfill the following conditions:

  1. Export at least 65 percent of its annual production;
  2. Guarantee employment of Beninese citizens;
  3. Training of Beninese citizens;
  4. Utilization of local raw materials.

The most profitable investment sectors are cotton, palm oil, cashew nut, shea butter, pineapple and fishery. Other viable investments include textile, mineral resources, hydrocarbons and electric energy.

The most profitable investment sectors are cotton, palm oil, cashew nut, shea butter, pineapple and fishery. Other viable investments include textile, mineral resources, hydrocarbons and electric energy.

Established in 1962, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Benin (CCIB) helps potential businesses to develop professional networks, and provides key information and guidance about existing investment opportunities.

Tourism

With a good infrastructure, a wide range of accommodation options and also ecotourism initiatives that offer travellers a chance to delve deeper into Beninese life, Benin is a wonderful tourist destination.

Beninese culture is as rich and diverse as its landscape. With strong religious roots preserving most of the traditions, Beninese culture is certainly one of the most unique and interesting in Africa. An important part of Benin is the VOODOO animistic religion, which deals with healing and rejuvenating talismans. The oral tradition is still very much alive, hence the absence of Beninese literature, even though the culture prides itself of its ancient stories and folklore.

The tourism sector in Benin has enormous potential. The development of touristic activities provides a boon for investors seeking new growth opportunities in all sectors.


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