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Benin, West Africa


Africa
Benin, West Africa is on the Atlantic
Ocean, having a solid and growing infrastructure and much more accessible
than other African countries by air.

Benin, West Africa
Bringing Hope to Those Who Have None

Capital: Porto-Novo

Independence: August 1, 1960

Population: 5,850,758 (est.)

Languages: Fon, Yoruba, French

Religion: Animist, Muslim, Christian

Currency: CFA franc
Sustained economic policy reforms and political stability have enabled Benin to achieve a 4.9% average annual economic growth in the period 1991 to 2001. Real GDP growth declined from 5.8 percent in 2000 to 5 percent in 2001 due to lower than expected agriculture output. The country's main exports are cotton, palm oil products, coffee, crude oil and cocoa beans. Recent years have seen an increase in exports of cotton and services related to transit trade. Despite a decade of positive per capita income growth (per capita GNP of US$380 in 2001), poverty has not been reduced significantly. Further progress requires comprehensive measures to slow down rapid population growth, further accelerate economic growth, and efforts to assure the availability of health and education services to the poorest. Achieving higher levels of economic growth and poverty reduction will require: (i) further economic liberalization (electricity, water, telecommunications, cotton) and (ii) dramatic improvements in the effectiveness of the public service delivery through public expenditure reform, decentralization and reduced corruption. Fiscal consolidation has been a major achievement over the last decade. The overall deficit excluding grants narrowed from 3.3 percent in 2000 to 2.6 percent of GDP in 2001 and the primary balance remained in surplus. This reflects a sustained improvement in increasing government revenue, but also low absorptive capacity for public expenditures. (Source: The World Bank Group)

BI-LATERAL TRADE OVERVIEW

Little two-way trade occurs between Benin and the United States. While exports from Benin to the U.S. are negligible, the country currently imports approximately $ 35 million worth of goods from the U.S. Imports from the U.S. have in recent years been on a declining trend. Of all AGOA-eligible Sub-Saharan African countries, trade volumes between the U.S. and Benin fall within the bottom quarter. By the end of 2002, none of Benin's exports included product categories that are AGOA-eligible. Benin's negligible exports to the U.S. consist mostly of agricultural and forestry products. (Source, www.agoa.info)