Minister of development Cooperation Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) last Thursday, in the Beninese city of Cotonou, a new bilateral cooperation programme signed with the West African country.
The agreement is good for 60 million euros, and places the emphasis on entrepreneurship in the agriculture, building capacity in the port sector, and sexual and reproductive rights and health.
Ten million goes to the improvement and further development of the port of Cotonou, which since may for a maximum period of 9 years and is managed by Port of Antwerp International. The port handles annually about 11 million tons, of which 85 percent is intended for export. Thereof, is 70 per cent in transit to Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali; 30 percent is for local consumption. In addition, exports of Benin, especially cotton and cashew nuts.
The third export product in Benin is pineapple. And it is that sector of our country by the agreement of a nudge in the back. Annually in Benin 400,000 to 450,000 tons of pineapple produced, and that number, the government wants by 2025 will increase to 600,000 tonnes. In total, invest Belgium eur 25 million in the sector, in the sustainable improvement of the value chain on the one hand, and the creation of a favourable environment for additional investments on the other. Also, the collaboration access to financial and non-financial services for businesses as well as improve the business performance, through innovation and new digital solutions. That should lead to a greater economic share of the sector, new export markets and additional jobs.
Finally, invest Belgium 15 million euro in a better access to family planning for girls. So will be working on a communication strategy for behavioural change in the area of sexual rights and reproductive health among young people and improving access to services. In addition, Belgium is in the digitizing and better use of health data.
The agreement is Benin a small to mid-sized partner. Belgium and Benin locks between 2013 and 2017 is also a cooperation programme, which also focused on agriculture and health. It was also a hatch for trade shows.