Vice president and minister of Development Collaboration, Alexander De Croo, signed a new five year collaboration programme in the Benin capital of Cotonou this week. Belgium and Benin will be working together to ensure sustainable local economic growth by expanding the pineapple sector, the port of Cotonou and strengthening the rights of girls and women.
Together with the minister for Higher Education of Benin, Marie Odile Attanasso, minister De Croo signed the new collaboration programme, which will for five years from 2019 to 2023. The programme contains a total of 60 million Euro and will focus on three main priorities:
- Entrepreneurship in agriculture
- Capacity building in the port sector
- Sexual and reproductive rights and health
Alexander De Croo: "This new collaboration programme reflects the priorities that I moved forward in the Belgian development policy in recent years: an ambitious approach that invests in local economic growth and more attention for human rights, women's rights in particular. These are the best guarantees that human development can really continue."
Expansion of pineapple sector
To strengthen sustainable and local economic growth Belgium and Benin will work together to improve the value chain in the pineapple sector. Benin produces 400 to 450,000 tonnes of pineapple every year, which makes pineapple the third most important agrarian product. By 2025 the Benin government wants to push the pineapple production to 600,000 tonnes and enter new export markets. Improving the structure and enlarging the value chain is supposed to help with this, as is support for innovation, digitising and a better access to financial and non-financial services.
The Belgian-Benin collaboration in the area of port activities is also intended to lead to more local economic growth. Belgium will invest more in improving and further professionalising the port of Cotonou. They will be able to count on peer-to-peer support from Belgian partners like the Port of Antwerp.
Source: Buitenlandse Zaken, Buitenlandse Handel en Ontwikkelingssamenwerking, België