President Talon came to power in April 2016 with a promising reform programme. His Governmental Action Plan (PAG) proposes reforms in the public sector, investments in infrastructure and attaining Benin’s priority Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). It aims at creating an enabling business and investment climate and at transforming Benin’s struggling economy by 2021.
The results of his policies are already visible in a number of areas, including power supply; reduction of small-scale corruption; reorganisation of the police services; rationalisation of public spending; and the appointment of competent professionals in key positions.
The Dutch policies focus on areas were reforms created a certain momentum:
• Inspired by the high number of teenage pregnancies and child marriages, the Netherlands and Benin worked closely to promote comprehensive sexuality education, access to contraceptives, and girls’ rights.
• The Dutch water programme provided technical and financial support to Benin’s ambition for universal access to drinking water by 2021, as well as developing national expertise on sustainable use of water resources.
• In the agricultural sector, the Netherlands focused on creating economic opportunities for youth. For example rural infrastructure, information technology for agriculture, youth entrepreneurship and securing access to agricultural land.
• Finally, with Dutch support the so-called Doing business indicators are slowly improving. It is important to boost the local business environment to attract domestic and international investors, and push regional trade towards its potential.