Benin, a country in West Africa, needs to reduce poverty, meet the increasing needs of its young population and ensure the balanced and sustainable development of its territory. As a long-standing partner, AFD is helping it face these challenges.
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jeunes, formation professionnelle, Bénin
Bénin, Ouidah, casa del papa

Strengthening the education and training systems

Bénin écoliers enfants


Benin's population is constantly increasing, which is putting pressure on its education system. In 2020, the country will need to accommodate a school-age population of 5 million (compared to 3.9 million in 2010). This means that the country is facing many challenges in terms of access to and quality of education. As for professional training programmes, these are not up to standard to meet businesses' needs.

The Beninese government has thus adopted a 10-year plan to develop the education sector, focusing on improving secondary education.

To support this strategy and, more generally, the professional integration of Beninese young people, AFD is working with the Ministry of Education on carrying out the plan:

  • we are supporting its implementation by focusing on the management of teachers and promoting scientific subjects; 
  • we are building 750 classrooms and 370 toilets for secondary school students;
  • we are promoting vocational training programmes better adapted to the market's needs and the development of technical teaching in Benin.

Promoting more profitable and sustainable agriculture

Bénin Champs agricoles


Agriculture is a key sector in Benin: it employs 70% of the country's population. The challenge is to make this sector more profitable, sustainable and equitable.

AFD is promoting the improvement of family farm productivity and the development of promising sectors. Our funding aims to:

  • boost the technical and economic capabilities of farmers and rural organisations;
  • train the future managers of the Songhaï Centre, Benin's main farming-business school;
  • support agricultural development of the Collines department by strengthening the capabilities of communes and local associations.

The results of these actions can already be seen – several thousand farmers have benefited from management advice. This advice has already had positive effects: reduced periods of food shortage between harvests, improved yields and incomes and spate of new projects, especially involving women (mostly commercial and processing activities).

Supporting urban growth

Bénin travaux collecteur d’eaux usées


Benin's population could double by 2030 and, with it, the number of urban dwellers: half of the country's inhabitants will live in a city. This population growth will present new urban and environmental challenges.

To promote controlled urbanisation which is conducive to the population's well-being, AFD supports local Beninese communities by combining planning with adaptation to climate change.

Our landmark project, "Porto-Novo, green city", shows the success of urban development using a "climate-conscious" approach. Porto-Novo has become a resilient city which is adapted to climate change and concerned about protecting its environment. This project was presented at the COP 21 and the Word Urban Forum in Medellín and has become the symbol of sustainable urban development addressing the challenges faced by Beninese cities.

Promoting energy transition

Bénin Électricité en milieu rural


The energy deficit is hindering Benin's growth and the population's access to electricity remains poor. However, the Beninese government has taken steps towards an ambitious goal: energy sufficiency by 2020. To do this, production capacity will need to be increased, transport and energy distribution will need to be improved and electricity will need to be brought to the countryside.

AFD is funding:

  • the strengthening of the existing electrical distribution network, managed by the Société béninoise d’énergie électrique, and its extension to rural areas;
  • the construction of a new solar power plant.
million Euros committed since 2010
fewer tonnes of CO2 each year
children receiving secondary education
people with access to electricity

Benin, a West African country bordered by Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Niger, has a 121 km-long coast on the Gulf of Guinea. It has a population of 10 million, 40% of which lives below the poverty line.

This is because Benin is still one of the least developed countries in Africa despite its political stability and numerous assets. Its agricultural and tourism resources are plentiful, its population is young and its geographical position – close to large markets (Nigeria, as well as its own growing population) – makes it a key centre of transit and one of the countries with the most potential in the region.

But Benin is still too dependent on informal transit trade to neighbouring Nigeria (20% of its GDP) and on agricultural production (25%). It is struggling to meet the needs of its ever-growing population and to provide its private sector with a favourable business climate. The Beninese government needs to overcome the challenges of access to electricity, education and healthcare as well as balanced and sustainable development of its territory.

Benin is one of the 17 priority countries for French aid. As a long-standing partner, AFD has made the country's national challenges a priority. We work alongside public and private actors through loans, donations, guarantees and technical assistance.

From 2010 to 2017, we committed €288m to Benin.

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