Highlighted results

More than 250,000 people gained access to safe drinking water.

Almost 37,000 micro entrepreneurs and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises are being supported in agricultural chains/sectors. One of the projects realised a more than 80% increase in revenue.

More than 650,000 young people have been reached with Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE).

Additional sources

Openaid.nl

Overview of projects in Benin

Factsheet Multiannual Country Strategy Benin

Factsheet on the efforts of The Netherlands from 2019 to 2022

Introduction

Benin is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 163 out of 189 on the UN Human Development Index. The incumbent Talon government has introduced a programme of political and economic reform, aimed at creating a favourable business and investment environment, combating clientelism and corruption, and reforming the government structure. As a result, economic growth in 2019 accelerated to 6.7%, almost 4% per capita. However, Nigeria’s decision to close its border with Benin continues to have a negative impact on Benin’s trade and economic prospects.

Making government policies more inclusive remains a challenge. Gender disparities are high and young people hardly benefit from the economic growth. Likewise, the urban-rural and north-south divides are increasing and the north is vulnerable to radicalisation and extremism.

Aware of these challenges, the Netherlands has aligned its strategy with Benin’s reform agenda. Examples include water, land rights and school feeding programmes. But the Netherlands also promotes change in less prioritised areas. Projects such as strengthening women’s and girls’ rights, youth entrepreneurship and the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) programme seek to enhance the inclusiveness of Benin’s growth strategy.

Results 2019

The Netherlands advocated for more women- and youth-friendly policies. This contributed to the Benin government recognising the importance of gender equality and the creation of youth prospects.

Dutch support for agricultural projects contributed to employment, especially for women and youths. It did so by investing in youth entrepreneurship and information technology for agriculture, and by strengthening value chains and opening up markets.

The Netherlands contributed to the introduction of comprehensive sexuality education and furthered the access to contraceptives, leading to a sharp decrease in teenage pregnancies.

Dutch support for newly created national agencies helped with the implementation of national priorities, in line with the SDGs. In the water sector, for example, the Netherlands introduced an integrated approach for creating access to drinking water, sanitation and water management. In agriculture, Dutch support for the national land registry has already enabled more effective registration of land rights.

Dutch efforts helped to boost the local business environment by attracting domestic and international investors, and promoting regional trade.

Results by theme

SRHR Water Food security

Featured project Benin

Approche communale pour le marché agricole au Bénin

The project Communal Approach to Agricultural Markets in Benin (ACMA) aims to improve the food and nutritional security of rural populations in Benin. ACMA intends to realise this objective by raising productivity, strengthening value chains and facilitating access to markets by removing trade barriers. The second phase of the project (ACMA II) includes five activity areas: access to inputs and agricultural innovations, market access and professionalisation, agricultural finance access, ICT for agriculture and public-private partnerships. The project operates in 28 municipalities and seven agricultural value chains: palm oil, palm nut, corn, soybean and peanut, chilli, cassava and fish (fresh and smoked). ACMA II is anticipated to increase the revenue of 60,000 economic actors with a 30% increase in the volume of marketed agricultural products.

Check out this project on Open Aid

to see more information and results

SRHR

The results in context

In Benin, SRHR indicators show a high fertility rate (5.7) and a 26% child marriage rate. The rate for the unmet need for contraceptives stands at 32%, while maternal mortality stands at 397 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Dutch efforts in the field of SRHR in Benin focus on increasing SRHR information and improving the quality of and access to SRHR services and commodities, with a specific focus on adolescents and youths. The Netherlands supports the development and implementation of age-appropriate curricula on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) for youths both in and out of school. Additional efforts are being made to prevent child marriages. In its engagement, the Netherlands involves relevant ministries, United Nations (UN) organisations, local and international NGOs, youth organisations, religious and traditional leaders, and Dutch and other knowledge centres.

In June 2018, the Government of Benin adopted the CSE curriculum, which is an important and significant achievement. Simultaneously, the UNFPA worked on improving the quality and availability of SRHR services and contraceptives.

Results

Indicator

Percentage of young people reached with comprehensive, correct information on SRHR, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy and contraception

Score

656,662 young people

Progress

Progress, not on track

The number of young people reached with Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) through our support has been measured. The result in 2019 fell short of the target.

The number of youths that were directly reached with CSE fell short of the target. The programme is behind schedule because the embassy’s NGO partners working on SRHR in Benin had to limit their activities, citing administrative and financial reasons. Falling behind schedule was also influenced by underreporting. Young people who have been reached with CSE through other initiatives than those directly supported by the Netherlands have not been included in the results. The large number of youths who have been reached with CSE messages and programmes on social media have also not been included. However, the dedication of the Ministry of Secondary Education has ensured the availability of CSE to Benin’s youth and impressive results have been booked in bringing down pregnancies amongst schoolgirls.

656662 young people
Indicator

Number of couples protected by various contraceptives over a one-year period (couple - years protection)

Score

197,990 couples

Progress

Progress, not on track

These results were recorded by NGOs working on SRHR, financed by the Netherlands.

Reported results have fallen behind schedule because of numerous reasons: programme implementation was interrupted for several months due to administrative/financial challenges in the consortium that promotes SRHR in Benin; access to modern contraceptives was limited due to the geographical location and financial situation of the couples concerned; and ignorance of the (financial) consequences of failing to use modern contraceptives is widespread. Marital inequality also often poses a barrier for women who wish to use modern contraception against the will of their husbands.

197990 couples

Water

The results in context

Currently, about half of Benin’s citizens do not enjoy access to safe drinking water. Benin has set the ambitious goal of ensuring access to drinking water for all inhabitants by 2021. The Netherlands supports Benin and (International) Non-Governmental Organisations in meeting this objective.

An increase in access to drinking water services is achieved by funding boreholes, pipes, public taps and household connections. Support is also given to organisations that ensure the sustainability of these services. To ensure the safety of drinking water, many communities require basic hygiene and sanitation. To this end, the Netherlands also supports relevant organisations and invests in promotional campaigns and infrastructure.

Since merely supplying water is insufficient, the Netherlands invests in making sure water resources are available for different uses, as well as for future generations. The Dutch programme therefore assists in improving water management. The main objective is measuring the amount and quality of water and increasing the resources’ sustainability.

Results

Indicator

Number of people using safely managed drinking water services

Score

251,220 people

Progress

Progress, not on track

Many people in Benin still do not have access to safely managed drinking water services. The Netherlands supported the Government of Benin in extending public services, allowing people in rural and urban communities to access drinking water services.

One of the main objectives of the water programme is to increase access to safe drinking water. For the period 2016 to 2021, the Dutch water programme aims to contribute to increased access to drinking water for more than 750,000 people. The programme is currently behind schedule because of the new government’s reforms and the creation of new implementing agencies.

The main implementing organisations are the national urban water provider and the national rural water supply agency. The Netherlands supports the professionalisation of these organisations, thereby increasing the sustainability of the water supply services. The professionalisation of services also creates employment opportunities for highly qualified young people.

251,220 people
Indicator

Number of people living in communities free of open defecation

Score

35,213 people

Progress

Progress, not on track

In Benin, more than 75% of people in rural areas do not have access to safely managed sanitation or basic hygiene facilities. The Netherlands supports the Government of Benin and municipalities in hygiene promotion campaigns and extending sanitation services in rural and urban communities.

Improving access to hygiene and sanitation services, such as hand-washing stations with soap and latrines, is an important objective of the water programme. The Netherlands-funded water programme aims to reach one million people between 2016 and 2021. The programme is behind schedule on this objective, due to government restrictions on the recruitment of municipal employees.

The municipalities are eager to improve sanitation services and hygiene facilities. The Netherlands supports 25 rural municipalities in implementing hygiene promotional campaigns. These are mainly community-led sanitation campaigns in rural communities. The Netherlands also supports the urban municipality of Parakou in improving sanitation services. These services include public latrines and latrine sludge treatments.

35,213 people
Indicator

Number of professionals trained in water management

Score

185 professionals

Progress

Progress, not on track

Clean water in lakes, rivers and marshes is a prerequisite for the survival of plants, animals and our ecosystems. The main economic centre of Benin is located in an important wetland area. This area provides water, food and other ecosystem services to about 30% of Benin’s population. Improving knowledge and expertise on integrated water management increases the sustainability of these services for future generations.

Improving the management of river basins and the safety of deltas is an important objective of the Dutch-funded water programme. This programme aims to reach 600,000 people between 2016 and 2021 by means of improved basin management. The programme is behind schedule, however, due to government reforms of basin management organisations.

The Netherlands supports the National Water Institute in strengthening national expertise and knowledge of water systems and contributes to local community initiatives to improve water management. The Netherlands also contributes to Benin’s efforts to structure river basin management organisations and legislation.

185 professionals

Food security

The results in context

Benin has implemented reforms in the agricultural sector, ranging from improved agricultural advisory services to financial services for farmers. The development of Benin’s processing industry through a mass modernisation programme remains a major government objective. This objective is based on agricultural mechanisation, improving access to seeds, inputs and markets, the use of modern tools, and a strategy for ‘smart’ (ICT) agriculture. In addition to this, land administration reforms are well underway. Moreover, legislation has been changed to facilitate local needs, in particular investment in and preservation of agricultural lands, and the environmentally friendly use of land.

The Netherlands’ food security programme corresponds with Benin government priorities, as it invests in four types of intervention: facilitating ‘smart’ agriculture, furthering female and youth entrepreneurship, and strengthening land rights and nutrition. Interventions include: training, promoting new technologies, strengthening value chains and market access, securing land rights, increasing access to finance and introducing a school feeding programme.

Results

Indicator

Number of people assisted in developing income-generating activities

Score

37,480 people supported

Progress

On track

Small-scale producers increased their income and business by means of improved inputs, innovation, training and market access. Producers in the ACMA II project received training on cultivation and post-harvest techniques, entrepreneurship, management and marketing. Young entrepreneurs participating in the BeniBiz project strengthened their capacity to increase revenue, and producers in the Jatropha II project were supported in effective seed production and food crop methods.

Producers, processors and traders involved in the ACMA II project increased their revenues through a collective marketing system and by taking an integrated approach to monitoring the market for targeted agricultural products. In addition, production and processing costs were reduced and productivity in targeted agricultural value chains was improved through technical innovation. The project established partnerships with local NGOs that are well embedded in the communities.

The BeniBiz project, which aimed to strengthen the capacity of young entrepreneurs to increase their turnover, achieved results above expectations. Young entrepreneurs experienced an average turnover growth rate of more than 80%. Female participants experienced an even higher turnover growth rate.

37,480 people supported
Indicator

Number of family farms (crop/livestock/fish producers) with increased productivity and/or income

Score

12,800 family farms

Progress

On track

The ACMA II and Jatropha II projects opened up access to quality inputs and new production techniques for smallholders and family farmers. These groups also benefited from collective marketing systems. The ACMA II project covers seven value chains, organised in clusters: corn, cassava, palm oil, peppers, fish, soybeans and peanuts. The Jatropha II project supported producers of seeds in using effective methods of seed production and in producing food crops with good yields.

The ACMA II project developed a strategy for each of the seven agricultural business clusters. The beneficiaries within each value chain are structured into co-operatives and the project’s partners are NGOs that are well embedded in the communities. Producers and processors within each cluster receive a range of training, including: cultivation techniques, post-harvest technologies, agricultural entrepreneurship, management, marketing, sales and revenue.

The Jatropha II project supported producers of jatropha seeds in implementing effective methods of seed production and producing food crops with good yields. The seeds are subsequently used to produce oil, which is often used in soap production.

The Local Land Management Support Project, which was completed by the end of 2018, allowed 28,150 people to exercise (more) secure tenure rights to land. After its completion, the project was followed up by a project supporting the national cadastre. This new project effectively contributes to the legal certainty of land ownership for an ever-growing number of people and secures investments in agricultural land.

12,800 family farms
Indicator

Total number of undernourished people reached

Score

75,700 people

Progress

On track

While Benin’s economy is largely agricultural and the available land is arable and productive, estimates of food insecurity range from 10% to about 34% of the population. Approximately 32% to 45% of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition. One of the objectives of the Netherlands’ food security programme is to contribute to the elimination of malnutrition. Through three projects, women, children and others have gained access to balanced, healthy and nutritious diets.

A series of three projects has improved the food security of more than 75,000 people and directly impacted the food security of 16,500 people.

The BeniBiz project enabled female nutrition sales agents to directly facilitate the distribution of healthy food products, while simultaneously providing nutritional education. Other projects indirectly contributed to the improvement of food security. The ACMA II project fostered the production of soybeans, for instance, and the Jatropha II project raised the income of its beneficiaries, part of which could then be used for diet improvement.

The figure of 75,700 people does not yet include the results of the school feeding project, implemented through the World Food Programme (WFP) in close collaboration with the Government of Benin. This programme is expected to contribute to improved access to adequate nutrition for 60,000 children and to secure an income for approximately 1,000 smallholders. By linking local producers to schools, the project also aims to create a sustainable relationship between the two.

75,700 people

Background and future Benin

Background

Results of government reform in Benin are visible in areas such as improved power supply, reduced corruption and improved police services. Eagerness to realise the objectives sometimes results in a lack of communication and the reduction of democratic freedom.

This socio-political context calls for a constructive dialogue. Where possible (such as in water and food security), the Netherlands’ Multi Annual Country Strategy (MACS) 2019-2022 for Benin is well aligned with government priorities. However, the state’s reform agenda led to delays in the implementation of Dutch projects. When local organisational capacity is limited, government ownership alone proves to be insufficient to keep programmes on track.

In areas that are not a government priority, such as the promotion of women’s and youth rights, the combination of dialogue with and support to national organisations proves to be effective in furthering change. An example is the curriculum for comprehensive sexuality education, which was implemented through a combination of funding and constructive engagement with government, religious leaders, teachers and parents.

Glimpse into the future

Considering the current socio-political context, the choices made in the MACS 2019-2022 remain relevant: a continued focus on strengthening agriculture, food security, youth employment, SRHR and reducing gender imbalances. Furthermore, the anticipated impact of climate change calls for the strengthening of resilience in the food security programme. The MACS envisages a shift in activities towards northern Benin, an area marked by extreme poverty, unemployment and limited state presence. Jihadist groups try to fill the gap left by government, making (young) people prone to radicalisation and extremism. With the goal of preventing a further trickledown of conflict from the Sahel region, the Netherlands aims to invest in human security. New activities focus on smallholders and youths, fostering vocational education, promoting girls’ education and reducing child marriage.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is most likely severe. The extent to which this affects our current and future projects is still unknown.

Additional sources

You can find how the budget was allocated in 2019 and which projects were funded on the budget website.

  1. Visit the website
    Programme budget Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
  2. Select financial year 2019
Benin and the Netherlands

Page on current policy towards Benin

Facebook page

Follow the Dutch Embassy to Benin on Facebook

Dutch Embassy to Benin website

Visit the Dutch Embassy to Benin website

Results SRHR

Download PDF with results for SRHR in Benin

Results Water

Download PDF with results for Water in Benin

Results Food security

Download PDF with results for Food security in Benin

Expenditure Embassy by channel

Metric

Expenditure Embassy by theme

Metric

The budget in this figure is for the year 2019 and does not completely correspond with the results on this page, which have been collected between Oct 2018 and Oct 2019. More information on this can be found on the 'About the results report' page.