Benin

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France and Benin

Political relations

Relations between France and Benin, a priority country for French official development assistance (ODA) has been strengthened by frequent bilateral visits. Benin’s presidential election in March 2016 confirmed the robustness of its democracy.

Visits

The French President received President Talon at the Élysée Palace on 6 March 2018. Minister of State Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne visited Cotonou from 14-16 February 2018.

President François Hollande received President Talon three times in 2016 (April, July and December) and visited Cotonou on 2 July 2015 at the invitation of his Beninese colleague.

Ministerial visits also take place regularly. The Ministers of State André Vallini and Jean-Marie Le Guen visited Cotonou in May 2016, while Benin’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aurélien Agbénonci, was received by his counterpart in Paris in March 2017.

Economic relations

French exports to Benin stood at €183 million in 2017 and primarily consist of agrifood products (€82 million) and pharmaceuticals (€57 million).

Our imports from Benin stood that year at €3 million and consisted essentially of tropical fruit.

Some 30 French businesses are present in the country.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

France is the third-largest bilateral provider of official development assistance to Benin after Germany and the Netherlands. The strategic focuses of cooperation between France and Benin for the period 2018-2021 are set out in the general partnership framework signed in Paris on 9 March 2018. They are in line with the Beninese government’s programme of action: supporting economic development and job creation; contributing to improving the living conditions of the country’s people; and consolidating democratic governance.

Through its cooperation initiatives, France also seeks to promote francophonie, to strengthen cultural diversity, and to support artists, actors and cultural organizations in Benin. The Institut Français in Benin plays a leading role in this field, promoting both French culture and the emergence of Beninese artists. France also supports the development of Benin’s tourism, including through the training of staff in the field.

It should also be noted that Benin is a key partner in the field of decentralized cooperation: 45 partnership agreements have been signed between French and Beninese local governments and over 170 projects have been implemented. Around 30 of the country’s 77 municipalities are involved. The second meeting on decentralized cooperation took place in Cotonou on 4 and 5 November 2016.

Updated: May 2018