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European Commission - Press release

Commissioner Piebalgs in Benin to encourage reforms and announce new support to local governments and jobs creation

Brussels, 21 November 2011 - Tomorrow, European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will arrive in Benin for a one-day visit, during which he will meet with President Thomas Boni Yayi and several key Ministers of the government of Benin. The Commissioner will announce funding for decentralisation measures and the strengthening of local governments, as well as financial support for the development of small and medium enterprises.

During his meeting with President Yayi, Commissioner Piebalgs will commend Benin's progress in the area of governance and democracy and encourage further reforms of the public finance management, fight against corruption, and the economic and human development of the country. He will also explain his recent proposals on the future of EU development policy, which contains a renewed focus on sustainable and inclusive growth as well as on human rights, democracy and good governance.

Prior to his arrival in Benin, Commissioner Piebalgs said: 'The EU is the most important cooperation partner of Benin and I am happy to see that our aid had an impact: progress has been made in providing basic infrastructures and services to the poor and building of the state over the last years. However, efforts remain to be done. The EU will support the country in strategic sectors such as food security, infrastructures and development of local small and medium enterprises. I am confident that, by working jointly with the government, Benin can enjoy a sustainable and inclusive development".

The new decentralisation project (€45 million) will assist the government of Benin in its efforts to bring decision-making on public service delivery closer to its citizens. It will focus in particular on strengthening the technical capacity of local governments. The private sector project (€15 million) will in particular help to improve access to finance for small to medium enterprises. It will further aim to reinforce their capacity through training, and other measures that assist them in bringing their products to market. This will help to support Benin in achieving much needed economic growth.

Commissioner Piebalgs will also meet the General Secretary of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), a regional agency in the energy sector, which is instrumental in developing a market of electricity in West Africa. In addition he will meet a number of key Ministers to have an extended dialogue about the role of infrastructure in promoting economic growth (see list of Ministers below).

Furthermore, he will visit two EU financed projects:

  • An agriculture project, ("Programme for water management works for agriculture") which has successfully provided support to food security in the aftermath of the recent food price crisis and led, among other things, to the development of 400 hectares of land for rice cultivation

  • A flood protection project that has reduced the flood risks for a population of 30,000 people in Cotonou. (See also MEMO… for both projects)

Agenda of Commissioner Piebalgs in Benin

  • Meeting with the President of Benin, Thomas Boni Yayi

  • Bilateral meeting with Amadou Diallo, General Secretary of the West African Power Pool (WAPP)

  • Joint meeting with M. Lambert Koty, Minister of Public works and Transport; M. Jean-Michel Abimbola, Minister Delegate to the President of the Republic in charge of Maritime Economy and Port infrastructures, Government spokesperson; and M. Jonas Gbian, Minister of Energy, Oil and Mineral Research, Water and Renewable Energy Development and EU MS Ambassadors to Benin.

  • Visit of Agriculture Project in Grand Popo

  • Visit to the flood protection project "Bassin XX" in Cotonou

For more information

MEMO/11/807 – EU development cooperation with Benin

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

Contacts :

Catherine Ray (+32 2 296 99 21)

Wojtek Talko (+32 2 297 85 51)

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