Business & Economy

Industry accounts for only a small percentage of the gross domestic product. Fishing industry meets only local consumption, so does textile industry. Palm processing facility needs improving; a sugar complex and a cement factory are jointly owned with Negeria. Breweries, soap unit... meet only local demand. Possotome village is, however, known for its internationally recognized mineral water.

Apart from limestone found in open quarry at ONIGBOLO, deposits of gold, phosphates, iron ore, marble, clay... are yet to be explored. The development of off- shore fields at SEME and elsewhere are underway. A Benin/Togo hydroelectric power has just been completed on the Mono river (the NANGBETO dam). There are attractive industrial projects and feasibility studies are available for some of them. The Beninese code of investment has been reviewed to insert, among other things, more incentives for investors. Benin is the natural gateway to Togo and Nigeria and to such landlocked countries as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.

Direct investments by American companies are promoted and strongly encouraged by the Benin Government. There can be joint ventures between Benin private sector and American companies to carry out such industrial undertakings as canning, paper processing units, glass manufacturing, salt processing units, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, clothing, palm oil, building materials,chemicals and any other items reflective of an industrial developing nation.


The geographic setting of Benin serves to integrate the region and provides direct access to the bordering states by water, rail, airlines and railways.

5-seaters ply between Cotonou and Lome, Cotonou and Lagos to name the nearest other capital cities while buses and lorries are available for such long distance trips as Cotonou-Parakou, Parakou-Kandi, Parakou-Malanville, Parakou- Djougou .

Roads: 8,000 kilometers will 1,000 km or bitumenized roads

Railways: 570 kilometers in joint venture with the Republic of NIGER.

Airport: Main airport is in Cotonou with many foreign air companies.

Port: International harbor with modern facilities in Cotonou.
Telecommunications: Infrastructures are performing more than 6,000 lines with direct contact with the external world.

There is a full range of postal services in most towns and localities. Telex and Fax facilities are available in Cotonou.

Banks, Working Time, Public Holidays

- Central Bank of West Africa P.O. Box 325 Cotonou
- Bank of Africa
- Financial Bank
- International Bank of Benin (B.I.B.)
The currency is the CFA franc divided into 100 centimes; the parity with the French franc is fixed:
1 FF = 50 CFA francs.

Working Time
Business hours
Monday - Friday: 8a.m. to 12:30 a.m
3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 12:30 3 p.m.
3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Public Holidays
January 1: New Year's Day
Easter Monday
Ascension Day
May 1: May Day
August 1: National Day
August 15: Assumption Day
November 1: All Saints' Day
December 25: Christmas Day

The details regarding Muslim Holidays are but approximative since they are observed following the sightings of the moon.

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