Tourism and culture are one of the strategic sectors in which Benin is seeking to invest in order to boost economic growth and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Benin has an exceptional historical and natural heritage.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985, Abomey – the historic capital of the ancient kingdom of Dahomey and cradle of the voodoo cult – is one of Benin's major tourist sites whose potential for attraction remains under-exploited.
The project to create the museum is also consistent with the process of “restitution of cultural property,” as the future museum will eventually house 26 statuettes, royal treasures of Abomey, which will returned by France to Benin to join the Beninese collections on site. In this sense, the project is also of symbolic importance.
AFD is assisting the National Agency for Heritage Promotion and Tourism Development (ANPT), mandated by the President of the Republic of Benin, with the coordination and implementation of the project.
This project aims to enhance the historical site of Abomey (palatial site and new museum) and consolidate Benin's heritage conservation and enhancement capacities. It should also strengthen the craft-industry ecosystem and contribute to maximizing the economic benefits for the people of Abomey and Benin. The promotion of Benin's heritage and the enhancement of a common history also contribute to the development of culture as an instrument of social cohesion and dialogue, particularly for young people.
The project to create the museum and enhance the site is based on four priorities:
- Construction of the museum and renovation of the palaces.
- Support for the cultural and craft-industry ecosystem.
- Capacity building of Beninese heritage actors and support for site management.
- Provision of additional expertise to support the implementation of the project.
- Enhancing the historical heritage of Benin
- Promoting the development of tourism and culture
- Reinforcing traditional Beninese skills and capacities in the heritage conservation and enhancement field
- Maximizing the economic benefits of the new site for the local population
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