Saturday, June 7, 2008

Doing Business in Benin Republic: IBG Nigeria Presents

It is our pleasure to welcome you to this special seminar on doing business in Benin Republic, facilitated by the Embassy of Benin Republic, Lagos, the International Business Group (IBG) and My Companion, a business and leisure magazine.

Many people that we spoke to in the course of putting together this seminar wondered why the focus should be on Benin Republic. Many even wonder why we should abandon Nigeria, our turf to promote doing business in another country. Well for the benefit of those that are not familiar with our services, the IBG advances a concept whereby companies from across the world can benefit and interact with existing global network, with the capacity to assist with market evaluation and locating the best potential in- country partners. Benin Republic is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), our mandate with the International Business Group to promote business activities from the sub-region.

Benin’s economy has entered a new era. With restored international confidence, it has become the new address for business on the West African sub-region. These positive developments in Benin Republic has been noticed by the international business community, including the International Business Group, a consortium of trade facilitators and business developers operating out of twenty offices with satellite offices in over thirty others.

Present day Benin was the state of Dahomey, a prominent West African Kingdom that rose in the 15th century. The territory became a French colony in 1872 and achieved independence on August 1, 1960 as the Republic of Benin. The election of Thomas Boni Yayi as the president in 2006 introduced the seeds of change as he vowed to bring about economic growth and eradicate corruption in the country.

The president’s efforts to build a platform for growth are paying off. Economic development is set to follow, with a special focus on five priority sectors namely, renewable energy resources, agriculture/agro-processing, tourism, industry/services such as telecommunications and development of port of Cotonou.

Though its economy is highly dependent on subsistence agriculture, cotton production and regional trade especially with Nigeria, Benin plans to attract more foreign investment, place more emphasis on tourism, facilitate the development of new food processing systems and agricultural products, and encourage new information and communication technology.

The United States Government recognized these initiatives by the award of USD307million on its Millennium Challenge Account to Benin Republic to improve on its business climate. These include reforms to the land tenure system, the judicial and court system, the financial sector especially as it relates to agriculture and in improving the competitiveness of the port of Cotonou under the Access to Markets section.

Benin Resource Persons would provide detailed information on these and other subject areas. We wish you success as you consider doing business in Benin Republic or expanding your existing business in the country.

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