Benin

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) encourages private and public stakeholders in Benin to develop a nation of solidarity, progress and social justice by reducing poverty. It supports local governance, rural economic development, basic education, and vocational education and training.

Map of Benin

Benin has one of the highest population growth rates in the world, coupled with a low economic growth rate. The land is poor in natural resources. The state therefore struggles to offer adequate services– both in terms of quantity and quality– to the population. Benin's economy revolves around agriculture – particularly cotton – and trade through the port of Cotonou.

Despite numerous obstacles in the path of its development, the country enjoys a level of political stability that provides a favourable environment for long-term cooperation. The SDC supports the poverty-reduction efforts of various private and public stakeholders from across Benin's society. Its activities are focused on the departments of Borgou and Alibori in the north-east of the country.

Decentralisation and local governance

State structures that meet people's needs

The SDC supports the Benin government's efforts to decentralise state structures. The aim is to bring government closer to citizens and to meet their needs more effectivelyby improving the quality of services. Building on local administrative authorities and civil society, the SDC supports, for example:

  • the establishment of community radio stations to keep the population informed;
  • the organisation of public meetings to enable elected representatives to communicate with citizens;
  • the transfer of central government financial resources to municipalities.

State and Economic Reforms

Rural economic development

Creating income-generating jobs

The SDC wants family-run farms to increase their production in order to boost the country's food security and foster the emergence of other economic sectors that create jobs in rural areas. To this end, it is committed to the modernisation of family-run farms and collaborates with farmers' organisations.

For example, it supports:

  • the provision of technical and management training;
  • the development of agricultural and commercial entrepreneurship;
  • the creation of commercially viable rural economic structures.

Basic education and vocational training

Offering alternatives to those excluded from the school system

The SDC is committed to an inclusive education that gives everyone a chance. Thanks to its efforts, children, young people and adults who have been unable to attend school or who have received insufficient schooling acquire skills that not only enable them to find jobs that provide an income, but also to exercise their citizenship.

For example, in Benin the SDC supports:

  • the organisation of literacy programmes;
  • the dissemination of newspapers in local languages to further literacy efforts;the development of vocational education and training programmes adapted to a rural context.

Basic education and vocational training

History of cooperation

30 years of work on behalf of the people of Benin

Swiss development cooperation with Benin began with a series of bilateral agreements, including a technical cooperation agreement that was signed in 1981. Switzerland subsequently opened a cooperation office in Cotonou in 1983. In 1994, the SDC began to support civil society organisations.

The SDC was also active in the health sector until it withdrew in 2007. In addition, until 2009 SECO provided budgetary support, bringing donors under one umbrella and persuading the government to reform public expenditure flows.