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Benin is a member of the WTO. At regional level it is a member state of ECOWAS and WAEMU. It also benefits from the various agreements under the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation and also the laws under Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Laws (OHADA).

Benin is the 149th largest export economy in the world. In 2015, Benin exported $913 million and imported $5.61 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of $4.7 billion. In 2015, the GDP of Benin was $8.29 billion and its GDP per capita was $2 060.

The top exports of Benin are Raw Cotton ($237 million), Coconuts, Brazil Nuts, and Cashews ($194 million), Refined Petroleum ($68.8 million), Gold ($48.6 million) and Rough Wood ($44.2 million), using the 1992 revision of the HS (Harmonized System) classification. Its top imports are Rice ($533 million), Cars ($526 million), Fake Hair ($393 million), Poultry Meat ($248 million) and Synthetic Filament Yarn Woven Fabric ($240 million).

Economic growth was estimated at 4.0% in 2016, a further decline from 5.2% in 2015 and 6.5% in 2014, caused by electoral activity, power shortages and an economic slowdown in neighbouring Nigeria. Inflation remained low because of lower world oil prices and depreciation of the naira, the Nigerian currency. The budget deficit, which had increased between 2013 and 2015, fell to 6.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 thanks to cuts in operating costs by the new government that came to power in April that year.

The government’s 2016-21 action programme, Programme d’action du gouvernement (PAG), known as “Bénin révélé” (Benin revealed) is expected to boost the economy by 5.5% in 2017 and 6.2% in 2018, with investment rising from 18.8% of GDP in 2016 to an annual average of 34.0% through to 2021.

Last updated: September 2017