Benin - United States Department of State (2022)

Executive Summary

Benin is a stable democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa with strong institutions and regular, peaceful elections. Presidential elections in March 2016 witnessed a transfer of power to a new government led by former businessman Patrice Talon, a bitter rival of former President Yayi.. The country’s 2017 budget estimated at $3.35 billion prioritizes investment. The Government of Benin (GOB) has pinned significant hopes on mobilizing private sector funding for major infrastructure development projects over the next five years through public-private partnerships (PPPs). A new law to facilitate PPPs is in the works, which is expected to attract additional Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and increase the country’s economic growth working toward the fulfillment of a 5-year Government Action Plan. The GOB is also working on updates to the country’s investment and public procurement code in compliance with the PPP law.

President Talon launched his signature initiative in December 2016, a very ambitious USD 15 billion five-year Government Action Plan (“Programme d’Action du Gouvernement” or PAG). The PAG lays out a development plan from 2016 to 2021 structured around 45 major projects, 95 sector-based projects, and 19 institutional reforms. With the goals of strengthening the administration of justice, fostering a structural transformation of the economy, and improving living conditions, the projects are concentrated in infrastructure development, agriculture and agribusiness, tourism, health, and education. The government claims that the PAG will create 500,000 jobs. Critics of the president have charged that Talon and his allies will use the PPP law and the PAG to sign sole source contracts for their own profit. The Talon administration’s revocations of certain high-dollar contracts signed under the previous administration in favor of new ones with Talon-allied companies have fed this perception.

Benin continues its efforts to attract private investment in support of economic growth – a link the Government of Benin (GOB) emphasizes is central to boosting Benin’s development prospects. In 2015, it set up an Investment and Exports Promotion Agency (APIEX) as a one-stop business startup, investment promotion, and foreign trade promotion center. Benin’s overall macroeconomic conditions were positive in 2016, despite GDP growth slowing in 2016 to 4.6 percent, largely due to economic recession in neighboring Nigeria on which Benin’s economy heavily depends. The cotton industry, the Port of Cotonou, telecommunications, energy, the cement industry, housing, and agribusiness are the main economic drivers and prospects for investment. The country’s GDP is roughly 71 percent services, 21 percent agriculture, and 8 percent manufacturing.

In September 2015, the United States Government and the Government of Benin signed a $403 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact focused on reforming the supply of electricity in Benin. It is Benin’s second MCC compact and will advance policy reforms to bolster financing for the energy sector, attract private capital into power generation, and strengthen regulation and utility management. Infrastructure to be funded by the compact includes 78 megawatts of power generation capacity and modernization of the distribution grid. The compact, which also includes a significant off-grid electrification project, is expected to enter into force in mid-2017. Benin’s 2006-2011 MCC compact modernized the country’s port and improved land administration, the justice sector, and access to credit.

Table 1

MeasureYearIndex/RankWebsite Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index201695 of 176
World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business”2016155 of
Global Innovation Index2016121 of
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)2015USD 18 million
World Bank GNI per capita2015USD 840

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

The Government of Benin (GOB) actively encourages foreign investment. The creation of APIEX in 2015 resulted in a dialogue between the Government and investors to implement reforms and improve Benin’s business environment. The APIEX works to reduce and, where possible, eliminate administrative barriers to doing business and to attracting additional foreign direct investment. The agency has successfully reduced processing times for construction permits and registration of new companies from 90 to 30 days and from 15 to 1 day, respectively. On July 4, 2016 Benin passed a law that formally institutes for the first time ever in Benin a commercial tribunal of first instance and a commercial appellate court, a move that is expected to expedite the settlement of business-related disputes. However, these courts are not yet operational because the GOB has not yet appointed judges to them. The full-service office that expedites customs clearances, reduces the cost of clearances, and minimizes processing barriers to clearing cargo at the Port of Cotonou makes it possible to obtain cargo clearance within 48 hours of the date of its off-loading at the Port of Cotonou. However, the April 2017 reinstitution of the cargo inspection program known as PVI, first tried in 2012, is causing some delay in cargo clearance at the Port of Cotonou.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Beninese law guarantees the right to own and transfer private property. The court system enforces contracts, but the judicial process is inefficient, plagued by corruption, and enforcement of rulings is problematic. Most firms entering the market work with an established local partner and retain a competent Beninese attorney. A list of English-speaking lawyers and legal counselors is available from the Embassy’s commercial section and on the Embassy’s website

Other Investment Policy Reviews

In 2015 the GOB conducted an investment policy review (IPR) jointly through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Further to a 2016 fact-finding mission, the UNCTAD Report on the Implementation of the IPR of Benin assesses progress in implementing the original recommendations of the IPR, and highlights a few more policy issues to be addressed in the investment climate. The full report may be found at:

Business Facilitation

In an effort to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Benin is in the process of instituting a visa-free system for African nationals. Those traveling on non-African passports will be able to obtain non-immigrant visas at any official point of entry into Benin. The country is also planning to open four new trade offices abroad to enhance Benin’s international business opportunities. One is already underway in Shenzhen, China; others in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East are in the planning stages.

Benin made property registration simpler and less expensive in order to boost the mortgage market and improve access to credit. The measures aim to reduce corruption in the property registration process and apply to real personal property, estate and mortgage taxes, and property purchase receipts. In order to register property, individuals and businesses must present a taxpayer identification number (registration for which is now free). Land registration and property purchase certifications are free. In a related measure, the GOB issued 2,513 titles free of charge in 2016 for owners of land that had been registered with the financial and technical assistance of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s first compact with Benin.

Benin’s World Bank Starting a Business rank has considerably improved by 60 points from 117 in 2016 to 57 in 2017 thanks to measures the country put in place to attract investment.

It should take roughly 24 hours to register a business, and there is no need for a notary’s assistance. APIEX serves as the single investment promotion center between the foreign investor and the Beninese government.

Benin defines:

  • Micro-enterprises as having less than 5 employees;
  • Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) as having between 5 and 99 employees. SMEs may be a subsidiary of an international firm.

The full-service office – run by a private company under the supervision of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport – that expedites customs clearances, reduces the cost of clearances, and minimizes processing barriers to clearing cargo at the Port of Cotonou makes it possible to obtain cargo clearance within as little as 48 hours after its off-loading at the Port of Cotonou, though in practice this has tended to take somewhat longer in 2017.

Outward Investment

(Video) Secretary of State Pompeo Camera Spray with Benin President Patrice Talon UNITED STATES 01.28.2020

The GOB has no policy or incentive in place to encourage the country’s businessmen to invest abroad. The Beninese government does not restrict domestic investors from investing abroad.

2. Bilateral Investment Agreements and Taxation Treaties

Benin has bilateral investment agreements with the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Portugal, Canada, Guinea-Conakry, Ghana, Mauritius, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, the Netherlands, and China. Benin is listed as a member country to International Investment Agreements with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, and the West African Economic and Monetary Union. Benin does not have a bilateral taxation treaty with the United States, though it is eligible under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to export certain items duty-free to the United States.

3. Legal Regime

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Benin is a member of UNCTAD’s international network of transparent investment procedures Foreign and domestic investors can find detailed information on administrative procedures applicable to investment and income generating operations including the number of steps, name and contact details of the entities and persons in charge of procedures, required documents and conditions, costs, processing time, and legal bases justifying the procedures. There is no rule to prevent a monopoly over a particular business sector. The Benin Private Investment Council-CIPB is the only business related think-tank or body that advocates for investors, Generally, draft bills are not available for public comment. However, individuals have the option to file appeals about or challenge passed or enacted bills with the country’s Constitutional Court.

International Regulatory Considerations

Benin is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of African Business Law, known by its French acronym OHADA, and has adopted OHADA’s Universal Commercial Code (codified law) to manage commercial disputes and bankruptcies within French-speaking African member countries. Benin is also a member of OHADA’s Common Court of Justice and Arbitration and the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). OHADA provisions govern bankruptcy. Debtors may file for reorganization only, and the creditor may file for liquidation only.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

The preamble of the Beninese Constitution, adopted on December 11, 1990, highlights the attachment of the Beninese people “to principles of democracy and human rights as they have been defined by the Charter of the United Nations of 1945 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted in 1981 by the Organization of African Unity and ratified by Benin on 20 January 1986 and whose provisions form an integral part of this present Constitution and of Beninese law and have a value superior to the internal law.”

Benin’s domestic law includes various legislative and regulatory texts covering family law, land law, labor law, criminal law, criminal procedure, and civil, commercial, social, and administrative proceedings. The civil court enforces commercial related issues, and will do so until the newly created commercial courts become operational. Court cases tend to proceed slowly and there may be challenges in the enforcement of court decisions. Magistrates and judges, though appointed by the Executive, remain independent. Benin’s courts enforce rulings of foreign courts and international arbitration.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Benin is a member of OHADA’s Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (CCJA) and the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Investors may include arbitration provisions in their contracts in order to avoid prolonged entanglements in the Beninese courts. investment procedures in Benin. In 2014, CCJA condemned the GOB for having illegally seized the ginning assets of the private Cotton Company SODECO (Societe de Developpement du Coton), and for having revoked the Port of Cotonou cargo inspection contract with Benin Control, ordering payment of $267 million in compensation to the two companies owned by then cotton tycoon, and current Head of State, Patrice Talon, the APIEX one-stop-shop website, providing information on regulations and procedures for investment in Benin.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

There is no existing agency that reviews transactions for competition-related concerns. Only the local court or international arbitration courts may address these concerns filed with them. There are no recent or existing competition cases to highlight.

Expropriation and Compensation

Based on a 1992 privatization law, the Government is forbidden from nationalizing private enterprises operating in Benin.

In conformity with World Bank structural reform commitments, the Government opened the cotton sector and its related components (namely ginning and inputs) to the private sector in the 1990s and in 2008 totally divested the ginning industry parastatal SONAPRA (Société Nationale pour la Promotion Agricole) while maintaining regulatory control over the sector via the main cotton company SODECO. In October 2012, prompted by concerns over performance and mismanagement the Government assumed control of cotton production and ginning holdings. Under president Talon’s administration, in 2016 SODECO took back control of its ginning facilities.

In 2006, the Government took over the management of previously privatized oil company SONACOP on the grounds that the company was in financial disarray, lacked funds for its operations, and was unable to supply gas stations throughout the country. On February 15, 2017, the Council of Ministers announced that the GOB terminated concessions for the management of four state-owned hotels (two in Cotonou and two in northern Benin), and instructed the Minister of Justice to file reparations claims against the concessionaires on the grounds that they had not fulfilled their concession agreements. In 2012 the GOB took control of the private bank Banque Internationale du Benin (BIBE) that, due to poor management, risked leading the bank to bankruptcy and possible systemic risk to the banking sector.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Benin is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of African Business Law, known by its French acronym OHADA, and has adopted OHADA’s Universal Commercial Code (codified law) to manage commercial disputes and bankruptcies. Benin is also a member of OHADA’s Common Court of Justice and Arbitration and the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and New York Convention.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Post has no reports of GOB interference in judicial handling of investment disputes.

All three known investment disputes between U.S. investors and the GOB were resolved in favor of the U.S. investors. However, in 2016, the GOB revoked the contract of U.S.-based company SECURIPORT for the provision of civil aviation and immigration security services. The local courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards issued against the government. In 2010, Benin’s civil society challenged a contract awarded by the government in the communications sector and the award decision was reversed.

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There is an investment incentive agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the GOB.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

Benin is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of African Business Law, known by its French acronym OHADA, and has adopted OHADA’s Universal Commercial Code (codified law) to manage commercial disputes and bankruptcies. Benin is also a member of OHADA’s Common Court of Justice and Arbitration and the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and as such enforces foreign arbitral awards as well as foreign court rulings. Post is unaware of any investment dispute resolution made in favor of an SOE by domestic courts.

Bankruptcy Regulations

OHADA provisions govern bankruptcy. Debtors may file for reorganization only, and creditors may file for liquidation only.

Benin’s score of 115 on the 2017 World Bank Group Doing Business report’s ‘Resolving Insolvency” category is a downgrade from the 2016 score of 113.

4. Industrial Policies

Investment Incentives

Depending on the size of the investment, investors may benefit from reduced tax liability on profits or imported industrial equipment for up to one year from the date of business registration. Investors must meet several criteria including employing a minimum number of Beninese nationals, safeguarding the environment, and meeting nationally accepted accounting standards. The Investment Control Commission monitors companies that receive these incentives to ensure compliance.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

2008 Investment Code allows for the creation of Free Trade Zones and establishes incentives such as tax reductions for investors. Depending on the size of the investment, investors may benefit from reduced tax liability on profits, exported finished products, or imported industrial equipment for up to one year from the date of business registration. Investors must meet several criteria including employing a minimum number of Beninese nationals, safeguarding the environment, and meeting nationally accepted accounting standards. A local entity and a foreign investor enjoy the same opportunities. The Investment Control Commission monitors companies that receive these incentives to ensure compliance.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

According to Benin’s 2008 Investment Code, investors must meet certain criteria, including employment of a minimum number of Beninese nationals, in order to qualify for tax reductions and other incentives. These criteria are not rigorously applied to senior management. Union leader participation is required in Board of Directors’ meetings.

Investors may encounter opaque bureaucracy and prolonged procedures with the labor department and the immigration service.

There are no government-imposed conditions on permission to invest and there is no “forced localization” policy pertaining to the use of domestic content in goods or technology. There are no requirements in place for foreign IT providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to encryption.

The Benin Post and Communications Regulatory Authority, ARCEP, ensures the confidentiality of the content of all communications by the service provider or operator, whether this is information or other data the service provider obtains in the course of providing the services offered. No information may be disclosed without the written consent of ARCEP or a signed order of the competent judicial authority. Additional information may be found

5. Protection of Property Rights

Real Property

Benin’s Land Act enacted on August 24, 2013 codifies real property rights. Land ownership disputes account for 80% of the cases seen by Beninese tribunals. The Land Act is designed to ensure fair access to land and protect ownership rights. It stipulates that unoccupied acquired land cannot be reverted to other or previous owners (though there still exists the risk of squatters). The Land Act establishes a transparent legal procedure for obtaining ownership, reduces property speculation in urban and rural areas, and encourages land development. In an effort to identify property owners and register land titles, the GOB declared that the land registration process would be free of charge for 2016 and 2017.

The Land Act stipulates that development projects financed by international or multinational agencies cannot involve or lead to forced evictions. The state is obligated to do everything possible at each stage of development project implementation to ensure due respect of economic, social and cultural rights recognized by international conventions and covenants and guarantees by the Beninese constitution.

Secured interests in real and personal property are recognized and enforced. Benin’s legal system protects and facilitates acquisition and disposition of property, land, buildings, and mortgages. Secured interests in property are registered with the Land Office of the Ministry of Finance. However, it is recommended that foreign and non-resident investors buy land with title deeds and the intervention of a notary public in order to help avoid any land disputes that may result from the acquisition process. Large land leases for investment in rural areas are enforced by local city halls in conformity with the Land Act. Additional information regarding the acquisition of property may be found at the Beninese Land Agency’s website at

Intellectual Property Rights

Benin is a signatory to both World Intellectual Property Organization Internet treaties. However, enforcement of intellectual property rights is constrained by Benin’s limited capacity.

On July 27, 2016 Benin’s Director of Pharmacies announced the seizure of 2.4 tons of counterfeit solid and injectable medication from a private residence in Cotonou and the arrest of a suspect. On February 24, 2017, the GOB seized another 80 tons of counterfeit drugs in Cotonou and the court found 12 individuals guilty of illegally acting as pharmacists.

For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at

6. Financial Sector

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

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Government policy supports free financial markets, subject to oversight by the Ministry of Finance and Economy and the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO). Fourteen commercial banks operate in Benin, where the access rate to banking services is estimated at 12 percent. Foreign investors may seek credit from Benin’s private financial institutions and the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Regional Stock Exchange (Bureau Regional des Valeurs Mobilieres – BRVM) headquartered in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire with local branches in each WAEMU member country.

There are no restrictions for foreign investors to establish a bank account in Benin and get loans on the local market. However, proof of residency or evidence of company registration is required to open a business and a bank account.

Money and Banking System

The banking sector has been generally reliable. Fourteen private commercial banks operate in Benin in addition to the regional central bank (BCEAO) and a soon-to-open subsidiary of the African Development Bank. Only 12 percent of the Beninese population uses banking services. If microfinance institutions are taken into account, banking access may be as high as 18 percent. In the past three years, non-performing loans have been growing at an alarming rate. 15 percent of total banking sector assets are estimated to be non-performing. The total assets of Beninese banks were XOF 2,560 billion ($4.26 billion) on December 31, 2015. Benin is part of WAEMU. The BCEAO regulates the banks in Benin and is present in all member states including Benin.

Foreign banks are required to obtain a banking license before operating branches in Benin. They are subject to the same prudential regulations as local or regional banks. Benin has lost no correspondent banking relationships during the last three years. There is no known current correspondent banking relationship in jeopardy. Foreigners are required to present proof of residency to open bank accounts.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

All funds entering the country from abroad for investment purposes require reporting and registration with the Ministry of Economy and Finance at the time of arrival of funds. Evidence of registration is required to justify remittances of investment capital, earnings, loan/lease repayments or royalties. Such remittances are allowed without restrictions.

Funds entering the country from abroad for investment purposes must be converted into local currency. For the purposes of repatriating such funds, either the invested funds or the interest/earnings or royalties can be converted into any world currency.

The currency of Benin is BCEAO-CFA Franc (international code: XOF). XOF has a fixed parity with the Euro. This parity was established at the time of the Euro’s creation (January 1, 1999) and has not changed since then. The parity stands at XOF 655.957= €1.00. Under the arrangements between the Treasury of France and the European Union, the French Government guarantees this parity. Therefore, XOF fluctuates against all other currencies based on its parity with the Euro.

Remittance Policies

There have been no recent plans to change investment remittance policies. Banks require documents to justify remittances related to investments. The waiting time to remit investment returns does not exceed 60 days in practice.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Benin has no Sovereign Wealth Fund.

7. State-Owned Enterprises

There are 43 wholly-owned SOEs operating in the country, including mainly public utilities (electricity and water), fixed and mobile telecommunications, postal services, port and airport management, gas distribution, pension funds, agricultural production, and hotel and convention center management. There are also a number of partially-owned SOEs in Benin. Some of these receive subsidies and assistance from the government. There are no available statistics regarding the number of individuals employed by SOEs.

With the exception of public utilities (including electricity and water), pension funds, and land-line telephone service for which the public telephone company retains a monopoly, many private enterprises compete with public enterprises on equal terms.

SOE senior management may report directly to a government ministry or to a board of directors comprised of senior government officials and political leaders along with representatives of civil society and other parastatal constituencies. SOEs are required by law to publish annual reports and hold regular meetings of their boards of directors. Financial statements of SOEs are reviewed by certified accountants and private auditors. Though the government audit institution has the authority to conduct a review of SOE financial statements, it has yet to do so.

SOEs are subject to the same tax policies as the private sector.

SOEs are established pursuant to presidential decrees which define SOE responsibilities. The GOB appoints senior management and members of the Board of Directors. SOEs are generally run as private entities.

Benin is not a member of OECD.

The courts independently process disputes between SOEs and private companies or organizations without GOB interference.

Privatization Program

The GOB has elected to support targeted divestiture programs rather than total privatization of State-Owned Enterprises. The state-owned telecommunications company, Benin Telecom SA, and its affiliate cell phone provider, Libercom, are targeted for a divestiture program. The state-owned electricity utility, Société Béninoie d’Energie Electrique (SBEE) will be managed privately through a management contract, even though the GOB will retain full ownership. Through the second MCC compact on power there will be opportunities for Independent Power Producers (IPP) to participate in power generation.

Foreign investors may participate in privatization programs. In March 2015, the governments of Benin and Niger jointly signed a document that would dissolve the Benin-Niger Railway Organization (OCBN) parastatal and assign its concession to foreign private investors.

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The government procurement process is specified by the Beninese procurement code (Code des Marchés Publiques: Tenders from the central government are announced in major publications, newspapers, and posted on the website of the Ministry of Finance and Economy at Published tenders often include local investor participation requirements.

Beninese procurement law allows for open and closed bid processes. Contracts are often awarded based on government solicitations to short-listed companies with industry-specific expertise, often identified based on companies’ commercial activities conducted in other overseas markets. The public procurement process is not always deemed non-discriminatory. Foreign companies have expressed concerns about unfair treatment, biased consideration, and improper practices specific to the process of selecting short-listed companies.

8. Responsible Business Conduct

In general, government policies and public tenders are made public online and in the newspapers. Anti-corruption, human rights, environmental protection, and consumer NGOs and activists are active in Benin and report misconduct and violations of good governance practices. There are also government-funded agencies in charge of monitoring business conduct. They include the Post and Communication Regulation Agency (ARCEP), Anti-Money Laundering Agency, the National Commission on Systems and Freedom, and the National Anti-Corruption Authority (ANLC).

Benin does not currently have a significant extractives/ mining industry, though small-scale or artisanal mining activities do take place in some parts of the country.

9. Corruption

Benin has laws aimed at combatting corruption. The Government has demonstrated the political will to reduce corruption and has imposed administrative sanctions and removals from office against high-profile, allegedly corrupt officials. None, however, have faced prosecution in Beninese courts, casting doubts about the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts. Corruption remains a recurring problem in areas including public administration, government procurement, customs and taxation, and the judiciary.

Bribery is illegal and subject to up to ten years’ imprisonment, but enforcement of this is subject to the same capacity constraints that hamper many rule of law issues in Benin. Private companies establish their own code of conduct to avoid conflicts of interest in line with the country’s laws. The Government has identified the fight against corruption as a national priority. Efforts reflecting government focus on fighting corruption include the 2013 creation of the National Anti-Corruption Authority (ANLC) in charge of referring corruption cases to court. By law, the ANLC has the ability to combat money laundering, electoral fraud, economic fraud, and corruption in the public and private sectors. Benin’s State Audit Office is also responsible for identifying and acting against corruption in the public sector.

Benin is a signatory of UN Anticorruption Convention and the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency or agencies responsible for combating corruption:
Jean-Baptiste Elias
01 BP 7060 Cotonou, Benin
+229 21 308 686

Gustave Assah
Social Watch
02 BP 937, Cotonou, Benin
+229 21042012 – 229 95961644;

10. Political and Security Environment

There has been no political violence affecting private investment in Benin since the end of the country’s socialist period in 1990. The country held a peaceful political transition on April 6, 2016.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

The Government adheres to internationally recognized rights and labor standards. Benin’s constitution guarantees workers’ freedom to organize, assemble, and strike. Government authorities may declare strikes illegal if they are deemed a threat to public order or the economy and may require those on strike to maintain minimum services. Approximately 75 percent of salaried employees belong to unions. There are several union confederations. Unions are obliged to operate independent of government and political parties. Benin’s labor code is favorable to employees. Most of Benin’s working population is engaged in agriculture or other primary-sector activities. The official unemployment rate in Benin in 2014 was 14.3%, though estimates of actual unemployment figures are much higher. Unskilled and skilled labor and qualified professionals are generally available. 89.6 percent of youth between the ages of 15 and 29 work in the informal sector. The standard legal work week is 40 hours and payment of overtime is allowed.

Civil courts and the Directorate of Labor deal with labor dispute resolution, and collective bargaining is common in line with the labor law.

To further attract investors, the GOB has, in compliance with the ILO, allowed payment of lay-off compensation ranging between 3 and 12 months’ salary for permanent employment contracts. A short-term employment contract may not exceed two years and may be renewed twice.

12. OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) offers financial underwriting for companies wishing to invest in Benin.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical sourceUSG or international statistical sourceUSG or International Source of Data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic DataYearAmountYearAmount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD)2014$7,6222015$8,
Foreign Direct InvestmentHost Country Statistical sourceUSG or international statistical sourceUSG or international Source of data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)2015N/A2015$18BEA data available at
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions)2015$0t2015$0tBEA data available at
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP2015N/A2015N/A

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations(US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct InvestmentOutward Direct Investment
Total InwardAmount100%Total OutwardAmount100%
Equatorial Guinea169.30%Côte d’Ivoire720%
Denmark52.90%Congo DR00%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Table 4: IMF’s Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS)

Portfolio Investment Assets
Top Five Partners (Millions, US Dollars)
TotalEquity SecuritiesTotal Debt Securities
All CountriesAmount100%All CountriesAmount100%All CountriesAmount100%
Country #1AmountX%Country #1AmountX%Country #1AmountX%
Country #2AmountX%Country #2AmountX%Country #2AmountX%
Country #3AmountX%Country #3AmountX%Country #3AmountX%
Country #4AmountX%Country #4AmountX%Country #4AmountX%
Country #5AmountX%Country #5AmountX%Country #5AmountX%

14. Contact for More Information

Political and Economic Section
U.S. Embassy, Boulevard de la Marina, Cotonou


BeninBureau of African AffairsBureau of Economic and Business Affairs

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Is the US embassy in Benin? ›

Travel Alert – U.S. Embassy Cotonou, Benin (September 23, 2022)

Is Benin in USA? ›

Benin (/bɛˈniːn/ ( listen) ben-EEN, /bɪˈniːn/ bin-EEN; French: Bénin [benɛ̃]), officially the Republic of Benin (French: République du Bénin), and formerly Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, Burkina Faso to the north-west, and Niger to the north-east.

Can US citizens travel to Benin? ›

Do I Need a Visa for Benin? US citizens must have a visa to travel to Benin, and your passport should have 6 months' validity remaining after your planned departure date. US citizens traveling to Benin may apply for a visa that is valid for 3 years and permits multiple entries into the country.

Why did Benin change its name? ›

In the late 19th century French colonizers making inroads from the coastal region into the interior borrowed the name of the defeated Dahomey kingdom for the entire territory that is now Benin; the current name derives from the Bight of Benin.

How much is visa from Benin to USA? ›

What is the cost of a Benin e-Visa?
Processing Time30-day, Single90-day, Single
StandardUSD $111.99USD $161.99
RushUSD $149.99USD $199.99
Super RushUSD $191.99USD $241.99
30 Jun 2022

How can I apply for U.S. visa from Benin? ›

  1. Check the Validity of Your Passport. ...
  2. Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160. ...
  3. Collect any Supporting Documentation. ...
  4. Bring your passport and supporting documents to the Embassy. ...
  5. Step 5: Collect your passport and visa.

Is Benin a US ally? ›

Benin and the United States have a bilateral investment agreement. The United States also has a trade and investment framework agreement with the West African Economic and Monetary Union, of which Benin is a member.

Is Benin rich or poor? ›

In 2021, Benin had 12.45 million inhabitants, with a fertility rate of 5.7 children per woman and a life expectancy of 61.2 years. The national poverty rate stood at 38.5%, while the unemployment rate was 2.4%, underemployment, 72%, and the informal employment rate, 90.1%.

What race is Benin? ›

Benin's largest ethnic group is the Fon (39%), followed by the Adja (15%), Yoruba (12%) and Bariba (9%). Togo's largest ethnic groups are the Ewe (21%), Kabye (12%), Mina (3.2%) and Kotokoli (3.2%). Benin has more ethnic ties to its neighbor Nigeria; Togo has more links to Ghana.

Is it safe to live in Benin? ›

Violent crime is common in Benin, especially in Cotonou and regions bordering Nigeria, Niger and Burkina Faso. Robberies, carjackings and pickpocketing also occur. Don't walk alone, after dark or in poorly lit areas. Scams and internet fraud are common in West African countries.

Do they speak English in Benin? ›

English is emerging as an important language of trade in Benin due to its being the national tongue of Benin's regionally powerful neighbor Nigeria. Spanish is taught and German is also taught in many Beninese secondary schools.

How long can you stay in Benin? ›

Visitors from the African countries can stay in Benin for up to 90 days (3 months). However, for longer stays, a visa will be mandatory.

Where did slaves from Benin go? ›

For over 200 years, powerful kings in what is now the country of Benin captured and sold slaves to Portuguese, French and British merchants. The slaves were usually men, women and children from rival tribes — gagged and jammed into boats bound for Brazil, Haiti and the United States.

Why is Benin famous? ›

The success of Benin was fueled by its lively trade. Tradesmen and artisans from Benin developed relationships with the Portuguese, who sought after the kingdom's artwork, gold, ivory, and pepper. In the early modern era, Benin was also heavily involved in the West African slave trade.

What language is spoken in Benin? ›

French is the country's official language, while Fon, Yom and Yoruba have the status of national languages. The census indicates that Fon is the most widely spoken as a first language (20% of the population), followed by Baatonum (9%) and Borgu Fulfulde (8%).

How much is visa ticket to USA? ›

The application fee for the most common nonimmigrant visa types is $160. This includes tourist, business, student and exchange visas. Most petition-based visas, such as work and religious visas, are $190. K visas cost $265 and the fee amount for E visas is $205.

How much is US visa fee now? ›

US Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fees
Visa typeCost
Non-petition Based Visas$160
Petition Based Visas$190
E Visas$205
K Visas$265

How much should I pay for US visa? ›

The application fees are listed below and apply to one visa application. The application fee for the most common nonimmigrant visa types is US$160. This includes tourist, business, student, and exchange visas. Most petition-based visas, such as work and religious visas, are US$190.

How much bank balance is required for US tourist visa? ›

How much bank balance should you have for applying to the US tourist visa? The amount of bank balance you should have for applying to the US tourist visa depends on the duration. If it is a 15-day trip, you must have $ 5,000-10,000 in your bank.

Is the US embassy in Benin open? ›

Important Notice: The U.S. Embassy Cotonou is currently providing all consular services.

What is the easiest way to get visa to USA? ›

You should apply for a US visa at a US Consulate or Embassy in your country of residence following these simple steps:
  1. Check if you need a visa.
  2. Choose the type of US visa you will apply for.
  3. Fill in the Non-immigrant visa Application Form DS-160.
  4. Pay your application fee.
  5. Schedule visa interview.

What is a person from Benin called? ›

The people of Benin (ethnic group) are called Bini or Edo. The citizens of the Republic of Benin are called Beninese.

How big is the Benin military? ›

Benin Armed Forces
Active personnel4,750
Budget$US73 million (2011)
14 more rows

What was Benin previously called? ›

Benin's former name, until 1975, was Dahomey. Benin has a population of 10 million people (in 2013), Porto-Novo, a port on an inlet of the Gulf of Guinea is the nations capital city, largest city and economic capital is Cotonou. Spoken languages are French (official), Fon and Yoruba.

What do people do for a living in Benin? ›

The industrial sector is also very important to the Beninese economy, particularly the processing of oils, petrochemicals, and power production. Expatriates working in Benin tend to be employed in governmental or ambassadorial roles, or work for charities, NGOs, or aid programs.

What kind of people live in Benin? ›

Ethnic groups: African 99% (42 ethnic groups, most important being Fon, Adja, Yoruba, and Bariba), Europeans 5,500. Religions: Indigenous beliefs (animist) 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 20%. Languages: French (official), Fon and Yoruba in the south; Nagot, Bariba and Dendi in the north.

How does Benin make money? ›

Benin's export earnings rely on agricultural products, such as cotton, palm oil, cocoa, and coffee, exported to such countries as India, Malaysia, and Bangladesh.

Is Benin a Voodoo country? ›

Benin is considered the cradle of the Voodoo religion, which is practiced in some shape or form by the majority of the population. Voodoo comes from the word in the Fon language for spirit, and focuses on spirits which exist in all things.

What is the religion of Benin? ›

According to the 2013 census (the most recent), 48.5 percent of the population is Christian, 27.7 percent is Muslim (mostly Sunni), 11.6 percent practice Voodoo, 2.6 percent are members of indigenous religious groups, 2.6 percent are members of other religious groups, and 5.8 percent declare no religious affiliation.

What is Voodoo in Benin? ›

In Benin, worshippers of Voodoo, a religion that worships gods and natural spirits, have gathered to pay their respects to the deities. The meeting takes place on the beach in Ouidah, a former slave trading hub, by the Atlantic Ocean. Mami Wata is the most revered deity.

How much is a loaf of bread in Benin? ›

Cost of Living in Benin
Water (12 oz small bottle)325.00CFA
Milk (regular), (1 gallon)3,880.05CFA
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)665.27CFA
62 more rows

What are some problems in Benin? ›

Rampant deforestation, desertification, and poaching remain some of the major environmental issues facing Benin today. The Republic of Benin has an HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate or 1.2%.

Can foreigners buy property in Benin? ›

Art. 14: “Any Beninese national, whether physical or legal person, can purchase a building or land in the Republic of Benin. Non nationals may purchase buildings in urban areas in the Republic of Benin, subject to reciprocity agreements or international treaties or agreements.

How do you say hello in Benin language? ›


How do Benin people greet? ›

First, you start by taking your shoes off and leaning or kneel quickly to greet the person you're visiting. Kneeling is considered to be a sign of humility and respect to the host or elder. Some people will remain on their knees during the whole process This is usually observed in the North.

How do they greet in Benin? ›

Every family in Benin has its own identification greeting known as (ukhu egbe) which is peculiar to the lineage (unien). Every member of the family renders it to his/her elder in the morning. The same family greeting can still be rendered at any time of the day.

How much does it cost to live in Benin? ›

The cost of living in Benin is $645, which is 1.45 times less expensive than the world average.
Cost of Living in Benin.
Cost of livingOne personFamily of 4
🏨 Rent & Utilities$242$371
🍽️ Food$253$663
🚐 Transport$93.9$269
💳 Monthly salary after tax$210
7 more rows

How much does it cost to rent an apartment in Benin Republic? ›

The average rent in Benin for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is approximately $529 per month, and utilities cost around $18 a month.

How much is a room in Benin City? ›

$60 per night is the average rate for a room when booking a hotel in Benin City. Prices will differ depending on factors such as star rating, time of year and location.

What African Queen sold slaves? ›

She ruled during a period of rapid growth in the African slave trade and encroachment of the Portuguese Empire into South West Africa, in attempts to control the slave trade.
Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba.
Queen Ana Nzinga
Names Nzinga Mbande
FatherNgola Kilombo Kia Kasenda
3 more rows

Who first started slavery in Africa? ›

The Portuguese were the first 'Western' slavers in Africa and with Papal support captured the African port of Ceuta in 1415. Slave trading of native Africans was relatively small scale during the 15th century as the Portuguese and Spanish were enslaving the native populace in central and southern America.

Which country received the most slaves from Africa? ›

Brazil and British American ports were the points of disembarkation for most Africans. On a whole, over the 300 years of the Transatlantic slave trade, 29 per cent of all Africans arriving in the New World disembarked at British American ports, 41 per cent disembarked in Brazil.

What is a queen called in Benin? ›

The Iyoba of Benin is an important female titleholder in the chieftaincy system of the Kingdom of Benin, a Nigerian traditional state. She is otherwise known in English as the Queen Mother.

Who invaded Benin? ›

In the 19th century, disputes over trade led to strain between Benin and its chief trading partner, Great Britain. This escalated as the European powers moved to divide Africa into colonial territories.

What is the main occupation of Benin? ›

Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. Yams, cassava (manioc), oil palm produce, rice, and corn (maize) are the major subsistence crops, while rubber, timber, and palm oil and kernels are cash crops. Mineral resources include limestone and lignite.

What does Benin mean in English? ›

Benin in British English

(bɛˈniːn ) noun. 1. a republic in W Africa, on the Bight of Benin, a section of the Gulf of Guinea: in the early 19th century a powerful kingdom, famed for its women warriors; became a French colony in 1893, gaining independence in 1960.

What is the nationality of someone from Benin? ›

Republic of Benin République du Bénin (French)
Ethnic groups (2013 census)38.4% Fon 15.1% Adja & Mina 12% Yoruba 9.6% Bariba 8.6% Fula 6.1% Ottamari 4.3% Yoa-Lokpa 2.9% Dendi 2.8% Others
Religion (2013 census)48.5% Christianity 27.7% Islam 11.6% Vodun 12.2% Others / No religion
41 more rows

Are people from Benin Nigerian? ›

The Edo or Benin people are an Edoid ethnic group primarily found in Edo State, Southern part of Nigeria. They speak the Edo language and are the descendants of the founders of the Benin Empire.

› wiki › Benin ›

Republic of Benin › wiki › Benin › wiki › Benin
Benin officially the Republic of Benin (French: République du Bénin), and formerly Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nig...

Kingdom of Benin › wiki › Kingdom_of_Benin › wiki › Kingdom_of_Benin
The Kingdom of Benin, also known as the Edo Kingdom, or the Benin Empire (Bini: Arriọba ẹdo) was a kingdom within what is now southwestern Nigeria. It has no hi...
Benin (officially called the Republic of Benin) is a country in Africa. The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo. The government is based in Cotonou, the country'...

How many hours does it take from Benin to USA? ›

FAQs - booking Benin flights

An average nonstop flight from the United States to Benin takes 28h 02m, covering a distance of 6161 miles.

Is U.S. Embassy issuing visas now? ›

Routine B1/B2 Appointments

The U.S. Mission to India resumed processing of routine in-person B1/B2 visas appointments starting in September 2022. Appointments for 2022 and 2023 filled quickly but we continue to open appointments as capacity allows.

Where is the U.S. visa center? ›

How does the National Visa Center fit into the U.S. immigration process? After U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your immigrant visa petition, USCIS forwards your petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, NH for immigrant visa pre-processing at the correct time.

How long is Nigeria to USA by flight? ›

Flying time from Nigeria to United States

The total flight duration from Nigeria to United States is 13 hours, 42 minutes.

How far is Nigeria to USA by flight? ›

Distance from Nigeria to United States is 10,661 kilometers.

The air travel (bird fly) shortest distance between Nigeria and United States is 10,661 km= 6,624 miles. If you travel with an airplane (which has average speed of 560 miles) from Nigeria to United States, It takes 11.83 hours to arrive.

How many hours is Nigeria to USA by car? ›

Nigeria is located around 8871 KM away from Usa so if you travel at the consistent speed of 50 KM per hour you can reach Usa in 177.43 hours.

How much bank balance is required for U.S. tourist visa? ›

How much bank balance should you have for applying to the US tourist visa? The amount of bank balance you should have for applying to the US tourist visa depends on the duration. If it is a 15-day trip, you must have $ 5,000-10,000 in your bank.

How do I apply for U.S. visa 2022? ›

How to Apply
  1. Pay the visa application fee.
  2. Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.
  3. Schedule your appointment on this web page. You will need three pieces of information in order to schedule your appointment: ...
  4. Visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview.

What are the 4 types of visa? ›

Which type of visa do you need? Probably one of the four main types: tourist, immigration, student, or work.

Where are US troops currently deployed in Africa? ›

Thousands of Americans are stationed at Camp Lemonnier in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti. CBS News correspondent Debora Patta visited the sprawling camp, which is the only permanent U.S. military base in all of Africa and as she reports, it's close to some of the continent's most dangerous trouble spots.

What African country has the most immigrants to the US? ›

People from the Democratic Republic of the Congo made up the largest group of African-born people who were admitted entry to the U.S. as refugees or asylees that fiscal year, accounting for 24% of sub-Saharan Africa's refugees and asylees in the U.S. Cuba made up the largest group of refugees and asylees admitted to ...

Which US state is closed to Africa? ›

We'll cut to the chase: The title of "closest US state to Africa" belongs to Maine and, specifically, a peninsula called Quoddy Head. It's quaint, little lighthouse, the Quoddy Head Light, is located at the easternmost point of the United States.

How long US visa process takes? ›

The visa processing time can vary between 3 to 5 days or even up to 2 weeks. Processing times for any U.S visa depends on the workload of the U.S Embassy from where you are applying. If there are more applications, it will take a longer time.

How long does it take for a US visa to be ready? ›

If a visa application is approved during a visa interview, the average processing time is 5 working days. At least a further 2-3 workdays should be allowed for delivery.

Where is US visa interview? ›

Applicants for U.S. visas are required to appear in person for an appointment at the Visa Application Center (VAC) and the visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You must schedule the VAC appointment at least one day before the interview appointment date.

› content › travel › us-visas ›

U.S. Visas › content › travel › us-visas › content › travel › us-visas
What is a U.S. Visa? A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the travele...
In order to apply for a visa in a third country, you must: Have been continuously maintaining lawful non-immigrant status during your stay in the US. Have a val...
The coronavirus pandemic led to the suspension of U.S. visa services around the world. As restrictions start to ease, most U.S. embassies and consulates have re...


1. Secretary Blinken's speech on the Biden Administration’s strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa
(U.S. Department of State)
2. Africa in 3D: Benin's contributions to regional security
(U.S. Africa Command)
3. Benin - U.S. State Department Benin Fact Sheet - World Facts Club
(Maestro Sersea)
4. Confronting Global Challenges: A Conversation with the Honorable Michele J. Sison
5. 🇧🇯 Benin - Vice President Addresses United Nations General Debate, 76th Session (English) | #UNGA
(United Nations)
6. The Brutish Museums: Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence, and Cultural Restitution
(Hearst Museum of Anthropology)

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