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Cooperation between the African Development Bank and Benin dates back to 1972. Financing provided by the Bank since that date amounts to UA 709 million, corresponding nearly to FCFA 550 billion, and covering several areas. The Bank’s investments in this country are as follows: transport, 27.8 per cent; agriculture, 26.3 per cent; multi-sector, 18.8 per cent; social sector, 15.8 per cent, electricity, water, sanitation and communication, 10.5 per cent; finance 0.5 per cent and industry 0.3 per cent. These investments came mainly from the public window of the Bank.
Since the national conference held in 1990, Benin has been able to maintain a stable political environment and has made significant progress in the democratic process. Economic growth improved in 2011 and 2012, after the shocks of 2009 and 2010, related to the global economic crisis and flooding. However, the economic growth rate is only slightly above the level of three per cent corresponding to the rate of population growth. The country remains well marked by persistent poverty (35 per cent) and a high level of unemployment and underemployment (70 per cent).
The country’s economic performances suffer primarily from significant infrastructural deficit, shortcomings in economic and financial governance and the low productivity of the private sector dominated by the informal sector. These constraints undermine the full development of the country’s strengths, such as its agricultural potential and its geographic position which predisposes the country to play an important role in economic exchanges in West Africa.
In order to accelerate economic growth, reduce poverty and help improving the living conditions of the people, the government is implementing the new Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) over the period 2011-2015.
To assist the Government in the implementation of this plan, the Bank Group adopted in September 2012 a strategy of intervention in the country covering the period 2012-2016. This strategy is based on two pillars, namely