The Benin Investment Forum will commence virtual meetings today.
The yearly forum brings together Benin’s business and investment communities to highlight notable enterprises ripe for growth. With the goal of starting new ventures as well as supporting existing businesses, the forum has remained the largest convention of its kind and received consistent funding from the EU.
This year’s forum, entitled “Benin: Gateway to the West African Market”, looks to court foreign investors to spur Benin’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery, as the pandemic looks to slow the country’s GDP growth to the point of contraction; in contrast, 2019’s growth rate was 6.9%. As Benin looks to return to its prior levels of growth, it has framed the transit trade and agriculture industries as having the greatest potential for development.
Expect today’s forum to highlight the need for private investment into the development of Port Cotonou as a means of spurring Benin’s transit trade industry. As COVID-19 restrictions ease, Porto Novo’s ability to connect landlocked West Africa to foreign trade could prove a catalyst for growth. The EU, for its part, is unlikely to invest in Port Cotonou during this forum as a deal between the EU and Porto Novo regarding the port is currently being negotiated. Instead, it is likely the EU, like in past forums, will invest and support local projects that look to modernise Benin’s mainly agricultural economy.
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Bilal is the Director of Training and Development. He holds a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University where he extensively researched the US war in Afghanistan. Previously, Bilal has worked independently throughout mainland China as a teacher and as a domestic political communications fellow with Murmuration.