In the wake of seventeen years of military dictatorship, in 1989 Benin became the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to undergo a peaceful, self-determined transition to a pluralistic, democratic state. Since then the country has enjoyed the reputation as a leader in democratic transition, even if this positive image is not always compatible with developments in the country.
Without possessing any significant natural resources of its own, Benin is especially dependent on trade with its neighbours. In particular, re-exports to Nigeria play a crucial role in the economy. For this reason, Benin is one of the most active countries both in regional trade policy as well as negotiations with the EU.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) has been working in Benin since 1995. It supports further democratisation of the country by among other things fostering qualitative improvements in the media, trade unions and good governance. At the same time, issues involving economic policy play a particularly salient role.
In addition to this, the FES office in Benin coordinates cooperation between various trade union umbrella associations for the region of West Africa and addresses different aspects of trade policy. At the same time, the FES has been intensifying cooperation with the neighbouring country of Togo for several years, involving partners from the areas of media, civil society and trade unions in regional discussions.
Learn more about our work in Benin on the project's website.