The peaceful presidential elections of 2016 underscore Benin’s stable political environment in a turbulent region. With a strong private sector orientation, the new government aims to transform Benin’s economy, focusing on macroeconomic stability, good governance and increasing the added value of its agricultural sector. Poverty remains pervasive and population growth rampant. If not addressed, this will exacerbate existing inequalities and create socio-political tensions. This is all the more pressing given that Benin - traditionally a country of emigration – is becoming a destination for immigrants. Attractive factors include its political stability, its maritime coast and its location in the prosperity zone of West Africa. The embassy supports the government in creating youth opportunities (Beninese and from the sub-region), by strengthening people’s resilience to climate change, improving youth and women’s employment, sexual and reproductive health and rights, water supply and sanitation, food security and economic diplomacy.

Featured project

Village Demarcation: a precondition for establishing Cadastral Operations in Benin

Village Demarcation: a precondition for establishing Cadastral Operations in Benin

"As in many parts of Africa, land rights in Benin are largely undocumented, resulting in land-related conflicts accounting for 60% of court cases. In order to fast-track the modernisation of the country’s legal and institutional framework, initiated under the Land Code introduced in 2013, citizens in two municipalities were asked to draw out the borders of their own villages. The result of this experiment is an inclusive and inexpensive tool for the demarcation of villages and municipalities, called Participatory Cartography. This tool offers practitioners a tested tool to develop demarcations, in Benin and beyond, thereby avoiding opportunistic strokes of gerrymandering which plague many parts of the developing world. The operation to demarcate the borders of villages is crucial for us, since without that knowledge we cannot move forward. Boundary conflicts between municipalities and within municipalities are rife within Benin. Lasting solutions cannot be found without the engagement of the local communities and without taking into account the history of the people associated with these lands. We need to start at grassroots level."
The Mayor of the municipality of Dogbo

Key results of the embassy in Benin

Food & Nutrition Security

Indicator Score Progress

Number of people with improved food intake

32,268 On track
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

In 2016, the programmes supported by the Netherlands have contributed to reducing the prevalence of undernourishment in Benin, through awareness, training and demonstration activities, as well as by organising farmers, agri-food processors, transporters and traders to improve access to markets. To increase impact in the coming years, communities prone to malnutrition and stunting will be more systematically included.

Number of farmers with increased productivity and income

32,330 On track
Number of farmers with increased productivity and income - by sex
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

Embassy efforts have focused on establishing public-private platforms at communal level, in order to improve access to markets, as well as supporting agricultural innovations and preventing post-harvest losses. A large number of farmers has received support and many of were able to increase their income and productivity in 2016.

Private Sector Development

Indicator Score Progress

Number of local micro and small enterprises that have received business service support from the embassy and its partners

728 On track
728 local companies received multiple types of support
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

The new business-oriented government has made the improvement of the business climate a priority, and on the World Bank's 'Doing Business Index for Starting a Business' fairly good results can being seen. However, the 2016 ranking remains at 117 for starting a business and the overall doing business ranking is 153. The embassy supports companies through its agribusiness incubator programme, in addition to its other private sector development initiatives both within and outside the agribusiness sector.

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Indicator Score Progress

Number of couples protected by various contraceptives over a one-year period (Couple Year Protection = CYP)

148,964 On track
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

The contraceptive prevalence rate in Benin is increasing rapidly, from 7.9% in 2011 to 12.5% in 2014 and 16.1% in 2016. The Netherlands' substantial Multi Annual support to NGOs and our activities to engage religious leaders and young people are important contributions to this success in 2016. But as this success is mainly attributable to civil society, there is room for stronger government commitment.

Contributions made to SRHR and HIV/AIDS policy-making by raising awareness among policy makers, policy setting and strategy development

Themes higher on agenda Progress, not on track
Themes of Demographic Dividend and Youth Empowerment now higher on political agenda
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

The Netherlands’ active promotion of discussing ways and means to increase demographic dividend has contributed to an increasing interest within the new government. The topic has gained equal momentum within the Ouagadougou Partnership, in the West Africa region. Meanwhile, the embassy developed its own Youth Strategy and stimulated other local and regional players to follow suit.


Indicator Score Progress

Number of people with access to better water resources and sanitation

no result Progress, not on track
no result
Interpretation of the Embassy results in the context

Serious fraud at the water ministry led to the early termination of the Dutch water programme in 2015. After Benin took adequate measures, as advised, a new water and sanitation programme was formulated under strict conditions. This process dominated activities in 2016.

Background & future

Interpretation of the results in context

In terms of increased productivity and farmer income, the results are much better than anticipated (32,000 farmers compared to 7,000), due to greater focus on access to markets and growing agribusinesses. The financial situation of mainly small-scale producers and traders has considerably improved, along with local economic development. In terms of nutrition, we are currently not reaching the communities that are most impacted by stunting and malnutrition. As explained above, no concrete results were achieved in the water sector this year. A comprehensive new programme has been carefully formulated and started in December 2016. This programme aims to provide 500,000 people with access to drinking water services, sanitation to 1,000,000 people and integrated water management for a safe delta to 600,000 people by 2021. In the politically sensitive field of sexual and reproductive health and rights, policy influencing is a long process at various levels, where quick victories are illusory. The embassy will continue to advocate for a higher position of these issues on the political agenda.

Glimpse into the future

A multi-sectoral approach of demographic dividend and youth empowerment, in particular youth employment and young entrepreneurs, will become an important element of our strategy.
On Food Security, the focus will remain on agribusiness development and access to markets, but with an increased focus on youth employment, and continued efforts to establish the right conditions for food security (land securitisation and infrastructure development). Regarding malnutrition, the financing for the Hunger Project Benin ended in 2016. This was the embassy's main project contributing to nutrition results. Nonetheless, nutrition has remained a strategic area of intervention in relation to food and nutrition security. Nutrition has therefore been integrated in new programming that will start in 2017 and 2018 with specific targets for nutrition.
On SRHR, family planning, essential to stem demographic growth, will remain important but more government financial and political commitment is needed to sustain progress. Through its success, Benin can play an active regional role within the Ouagadougou Partnership.
On Water, we will contribute to provide access to drinking water supply services for up to 162,500 people in 2017, initiate activities that will improve hygiene and sanitation conditions in rural and urban communities, and improve integrated water resources management in the urban delta of the Oueme basin.
We will mobilise state actors (municipalities and agencies), non-state actors (NGOs and private enterprises), as well as technical assistance to achieve the desired results. follow-up on the Delta plan, the second phase of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) project “improving working conditions in Ready Made Garment (RMG) sector” and the expansion of the Food Security programme will require special attention. Funding for SRHR is an area of concern, especially in view of the reinstated Mexico City Policy (Global Gag Rule). Efforts to improve the business climate will continue, among others through advocacy campaigns and commenting on (draft) regulations. In the meantime, a strategy for a new country plan will be developed.

Financial summary

Total expenditure Embassy € 26,888,696

Expenditure 2016 per theme

Expenditure 2016 per channel