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Brussels, 21 November 2011

EU development cooperation with Benin

Benin receives support from the European Commission in two main areas: transport/infrastructure and governance. Between 2008 and 2013, Benin will benefit from total EU funding of €420 million, from both the European Development Fund (EDF) and the EU budget; mainly in those two sectors.

The programming also supports a budget support programme as well as activities in areas like private sector development and civil society. Benin received EDF funding of €13 million in 2010.

The European Commission also finances projects in the areas of environment, civil society, human rights and democracy, health, and food security, through the general budget of the European Union.

Examples of EU projects

During his visit, EU Commissioner Piebalgs will visit key projects which have helped to improve agricultural production and sanitation for the people in Benin.

Agriculture Project in Grand Popo

Poor people usually have to spend a greater proportion of their income on food. Therefore, volatile food prices can have a significant impact on them. In Benin, due to rapid population growth, underperforming food value chains, and less than optimal agricultural techniques, these effects can be exacerbated.

In 2007 roughly half the population suffered from some degree of undernutrition or malnutrition. Financed via the Food Facility, which was set up in 2008 as a response to rapidly increasing food prices, the €1.4 million project in Gran Popo helps the local communities in Benin improve their food security through increased productivity.

Implemented through a Belgian NGO, the project is active in 33 sites throughout the country, and has benefited 3000 people. It helps communities by improving irrigation, helping them to plant more diverse crops in order to improve harvests, and providing support to local farmers' organisations. 400 hectares of soil have been developed for the cultivation of rice, and another 50 hectares for other cultures. The project also offers organisational and technical support.

The "Bassin XX" Project

The second project that Commissioner Piebalgs will visit is on the outskirts of the economic capital, Cotonou. This €20 million sanitation project started in early 2009 and was put in place to prevent flooding in two municipalities of the city.

As a result of demographic pressures and increased urbanization, the inhabitants of Cotonou, in particular the poor, have been forced to settle further and further outside of the traditional city boundaries, including in areas which were formerly considered inhabitable.

This project covers 535 hectares, an area where 30 000 people live, and which would flood regularly during the rainy season, since it is close to the sea and a laguna. More than 3000 meters of drainage canals and a 100 000m3 compensation basin (to capture the water overflow) have been constructed to reduce the likelihood of flooding and its economic and health-related consequences. Furthermore, the project also supports local governance, ensuring training in management, maintenance, and waste disposal for example.

Other examples of the impact of EU cooperation in Benin include:

  • EU support in the transport sector has helped rehabilitate more than 2000 km of roads and set up a functioning and financially viable road maintenance fund.

  • Through the EU Water Facility and a sector budget support operation the EU has supported access to water for roughly 650 000 people and looks like it has helped the country to reach its water and sanitation-related targets for the Millennium Development Goals.

  • Projects in reaction to the food price crisis are helping roughly 500 000 people to improve their food security situation.

  • An EDF-financed environmental project in the north of Benin is helping to protect and sustainably maintain more than 3.000.000 hectares of natural park. This project also benefits Burkina Faso and Niger.

For more information

IP/11/1380 – EU development cooperation with Benin

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