Benin (114 763 km2) lies between Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria and has 7.4 million inhabitants, a quarter of whom live on the coast.

Benin has been committed to a pluralist democratic system since 1990, and has emerged as a model democracy in a region where such cases are few and far between. Civil liberties are respected, particularly freedom of expression and freedom of the press. In its most recent annual report, the organisation Reporters without Borders ranks Benin 25th out of 167 countries studied and top of the African countries. The presidential election in March 2006, which was won by Dr Boni Yayi, marked a watershed, as it saw the emergence of a new political landscape with the creation of new parties around the President.

On the question of governance, generally speaking, although the regulatory and institutional framework exists there are major problems of implementation. These problems are the result both of a shortage of skilled staff in the public administration and the sense of impunity that prevails there. As a result, corruption is widespread throughout all areas of the public service. Only if there is a strong political will to do so can this phenomenon be beaten; it will require a number of practical measures, such as pressing ahead with the reform of the civil service, increasing the capacity for internal and external control, and a truly independent court system. Following an average annual increase of almost 5 % between 2000 and 2003, the real GDP growth rate slowed down substantially in 2004 (to +3.4%) and 2005 (2.9%). The principal factors which undermine Benin’s economy are a lack of diversification of production, which depends mainly on the cotton sector, and the dependence of the tertiary sector, which accounts for over half of GDP, on the state of trade relations with Nigeria. The cotton sector, which is a source of income for over 2.5 million people and provides the country’s main export, has been in crisis since 2002 as a result of falling production and a slump in the sector as a whole.

There has been no significant progress on reducing poverty since 2003, and inequalities between the poor have increased. In its 2005 Human Development Report, the United Nations placed Benin 162nd on its list of countries. Benin has slipped five places because of a slowdown in the human development index between 2000 and 2003.

Cooperation between Benin and the European Commission has been marked by continuity between earlier strategies (7th, 8th and 9th EDF) and projects in the road transport and health sectors and macroeconomic budget support. Following the launch of its decentralisation process in 2003, Benin is now embarking on a major transformation of its administrative structure, with the gradual transfer of certain powers to dispersed and decentralised levels. Encouraged by these developments, the lessons learnt from past cooperation and the strategic government guidelines which will be implemented as part of the Growth Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) and the Priority Action Programme (PAP) (2007-2009), the European Commission and the Government of Benin have agreed to structure the 10th EDF cooperation strategy around four elements:

  • joint budgetary support for poverty reduction;
  • local governance and development;
  • infrastructure and regional interconnection;
  • horizontal measures in the fields of competitiveness, social cohesion, the environment and support for civil society.

In accordance with the new EU guidelines on aid effectiveness, budgetary support (whether macroeconomic or sectoral) will be the instrument of choice for implementing the 10th EDF in Benin.

Region / Country
Number of Pages
Electronic copy
Partner Organization
Attachment Size
scanned_bi_csp10_fr.pdf 343.63 KB