The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) encourages private and public stakeholders in Benin to develop a nation of solidarity, progress and social justice by reducing poverty. It supports local governance, rural economic development, basic education, and vocational training.

Map of Benin

A small coastal country, Benin occupies a strategic position in West Africa, connecting the Sahel to the Gulf of Guinea. With a quickly growing population and a resource-poor subsoil, the country struggles to provide services that meet its population's needs in quantitative and qualitative terms. Benin's economy is mainly based on agriculture, especially cotton, and trade linked to the port of Cotonou.

Although Benin has no longer been one of the world's 25 poorest countries since 2020, there is still considerable inequality: growth is not inclusive and households living on low incomes still represent a large percentage in rural and peri-urban areas. Benin is also facing growing insecurity, especially in the north.

Despite numerous obstacles in the path of its development, the country enjoys a level of political stability that provides a favourable environment for long-term cooperation. Switzerland supports the various public and private actors in Beninese society in reducing poverty. It focuses its work on Borgou, Alibori, Atacora and Donga, departments in the north of the country that border on other countries.

Decentralisation and local governance

State structures that meet people's needs

The SDC supports the Benin government's efforts to decentralise state structures. The aim is to bring government closer to citizens and to meet their needs more effectively by improving the quality of services. Building on local administrative authorities and civil society, the SDC supports, for example:

  • the establishment of community radio stations to keep the population informed;
  • the organisation of public meetings to enable elected representatives to communicate with citizens;
  • the transfer of central government financial resources to municipalities;
  • the strengthening of gender equality in Beninese society.

Good governance

Gender equality

Rural economic development

Creating income-generating jobs

The SDC wants smallholder farms to increase their production in order to boost the country's food security and foster the emergence of other economic sectors that create jobs in rural and peri-urban areas. To this end, it is committed to the modernisation of family-run farms and collaborates with farmers' organisations.

For example, it supports:

  • the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises by providing technical and management training;
  • the development of agricultural and commercial entrepreneurship;
  • the creation of commercially viable rural economic structures.

Agriculture and food security

Basic education and vocational training

Offering alternatives to those excluded from the school system

The SDC is committed to an inclusive education that gives everyone a chance. Thanks to its efforts, children, young people and adults who have been unable to attend school or who have received insufficient schooling acquire skills that not only enable them to find jobs that provide an income, but also to exercise their citizenship.

For example, in Benin the SDC supports:

  • the organisation of literacy programmes;
  • the dissemination of newspapers in local languages to further literacy efforts;
  • the development of dual-track vocational education and training programmes adapted to a rural context.

Basic education and vocational skills development

Approach and partners

While the 2022–25 cooperation programme is implemented by the SDC, the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) has been developing flanking measures since 2020 via the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), particularly in the area of urban development. The Peace and Human Rights Division (PHRD) is also engaged, at regional level, in the prevention of violent extremism.

Switzerland's main partners in Benin are:

  • ministries and local authorities;
  • civil society organisations;
  • the private sector;
  • local and international NGOs;
  • bilateral, regional and multilateral donors and organisations;
  • national and international universities and research institutes.

Current projects

Object 13 – 17 of 17

Programme de Développement des Infrastructures Économiques et Marchandes au Bénin (PDIEM)

01.07.2018 - 30.06.2022

La phase 1 du PDIEM a rénové 6 infrastructures économiques et marchandes d’importance nationale/régionale, pour dynamiser l’économie locale. Le gouvernement a demandé de répliquer ce projet à d’autres endroits. En cofinancement avec les communes et l’Etat, la phase 2 rénove 4 autres infrastructures, intégrant la gestion des déchets. Les revenus contribueront à entretenir les marchés, les taxes générées seront réinvesties pour des services publics améliorant les conditions de vie.

Entrepreneuriats Stratégiques Pour des Opportunités d’Investissements Renforcés (ESPOIR)

01.03.2018 - 31.03.2024

Ce programme contribue à l’émergence des microentreprises privées béninoises de jeunes et des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises (PME) agroalimentaires pour assurer une croissance économique durable, une augmentation d’emplois et de revenus, et une alimentation nutritive (sécurité alimentaire). Il porte l’espoir de toute une génération d’entrepreneurs, et permet de répondre en partie au défi démographique par la création d’emplois.

A FONDS: Appui au FOnds Nationaux de Développement du Secteur agricole

01.07.2017 - 30.11.2022

Le Bénin a besoin d’un dispositif national pour le financement du secteur agricole. La DDC soutient l’Etat béninois et le secteur privé dans la mise en place de dispositifs communs et pérennes de financement du secteur. Le but est de renforcer la productivité, la compétitivité des productions agricoles et la résilience des systèmes de productions aux effets des variations climatiques. Ceci devrait contribuer à créer des emplois pour les jeunes.

Better public services in fourteen of Benin’s communes

A woman and a man shake hands in front of a sign with Switzerland's logo and the names of the two towns involved in building the bridge.

01.01.2017 - 30.06.2022

Efforts to decentralise public services in Benin are paying off. The SDC is focusing on two of the country’s departments. Since 2008, when the first support programme was launched, significant progress has been seen on the ground.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Infectious desease
Public sector policy
Legal and judicial development

01.01.2017 - 30.06.2022

CHF  8’700’000

Global Water Security and Sanitation Partnership (GWSP) - Phase II

01.11.2019 - 30.06.2023

The GWSP is a leading global "think tank" of the World Bank to address the water and sanitation challenge in an integrated manner, as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. GWSP advances innovative global knowledge production and exchange as well as builds capacity through country-level support across regions.

Object 13 – 17 of 17