Promoting sustainable economic growth in Benin
On November 29, 2018, a cooperation programme was signed in Cotonou between Benin and Belgium. Objective: to create sustainable local economic growth within the country.
The program will run for 5 years, from 2019 to 2023. Belgium will allocate 60 million euros to this project.3 priorities are highlighted:
Agricultural entrepreneurship: growth of the pineapple sector
Pineapple is the country's third most important agricultural product. Its production amounts to nearly 450,000 tons per year. In order to expand into new export markets, the country could increase its production to 600,000 tonnes by 2025. This includes raising the sector's value chain, supporting innovation, digitisation and better access to financial and non-financial services.
Capacity building in the port sector
Belgium intends to invest in the port of Cotonou to make it more efficient. In a spirit of partnership, the Port of Cotonou will be able to rely on the know-how of the Port of Antwerp if needed.
It is an ambitious strategy that focuses on local economic growth and pays more attention to human rights, including women's rights.
Sexual and reproductive health and rights
First of all, the programme aims to provide better access to family planning but also to initiate changes in attitudes. Providing better access to health care and the digitization of health data will help move things in the right direction.
Indeed, the situation in Benin is worrying and urgent. One in ten girls is forced to marry before she is 15. Women give birth to an average of 5 children. Moreover, the conditions for abortion are so deplorable that the maternal mortality rate is 15%.
During a working mission to Benin, Alexander De Croo, Minister for Development Cooperation, spoke about the new cooperation programme: "It is an ambitious strategy that focuses on local economic growth and pays more attention to human rights, including women's rights. These are the best guarantees of real and sustainable human development.”