In more than 90 countries

Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Benin’s strong macroeconomic fundamentals have helped the country achieve strong economic growth despite the recent external shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. After reaching 7.2% in 2021, GDP growth remained resilient in 2022, slowing down to 5.7% (IMF). Economic growth is expected to accelerate to 6.2% in 2023 and 6% in 2024, driven by agroindustry, construction, and port-related activity (IMF). Higher infrastructure spending and a wider regional recovery will support activity (The Economist Intelligence Unit).

In 2022, despite a challenging global and regional context, Benin’s economy remained resilient, supported by
a strong investment push. Investments in the electricity grid and freight transport have driven growth (Coface). In July 2022, a blended 42-month Extended Fund Facility and Extended Credit Facility was approved by the IMF to help Benin address financing needs, support the country’s National Development Plan centered on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and catalyze donor support (IMF). Reflecting the spillovers of the war in Ukraine, inflation increased from 1.7% in 2021 to 5% in 2022, but remained subdued owing to a strong harvest season and subsidy measures adopted by the government (IMF). Households have benefited from subsidies on agricultural inputs and fuels, as well as from tariff reductions (Coface). According to IMF forecast, inflation is expected to decrease to 1.8% in 2023 and 2% in 2024. Budget deficit decreased only slightly, from -5.7% GDP in 2021 to -5.5% GDP in 2022, as policy remained accommodative to cushion the impact of the repeated shocks (IMF). Consolidation efforts are scheduled to resume in 2023, with a forecast budget balance of -4.3% GDP (IMF). Public debt increased from 49.9% GDP in 2021 to 54.8% GDP in 2022, and it is expected to slowly decrease to 55.6% GDP in 2023 and 54.3% GDP in 2024 (IMF). Public debt is divided equally between multilateral loans, external obligations and domestic obligations and it should stabilise thanks to continued fiscal consolidation and growth (Coface). Around 20% higher than the previous one, the 2023 Budget resumed the consolidation of public finances while allocating substantial resources to critical social and security-related spending. The priorities remain the promotion of high-potential sectors such as agriculture, tourism and digital economy; the development of key transport, energy and sanitation infrastructure; the reduction of poverty and social vulnerability; and fiscal consolidation.

Despite many efforts to reduce it, the poverty rate remains as high as 38.5% according to World Bank data. In 2021, the unemployment rate in the country was estimated at 1.8% (ILO estimate). However, underemployment rate stood at more than 70%, and informal employment rate at more than 90% (World Bank).

Main Indicators 202020212022 (E)2023 (E)2024 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 15.6717.7017.4119.2420.64
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 1,2381,3571,2971,3911,449
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 46.150.352.452.851.6
Inflation Rate (%)
Current Account (billions USD) -0.27-0.74-1.00-1.12-1.04
Current Account (in % of GDP) -1.7-4.2-5.7-5.8-5.0

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by La Coface.



Main Sectors of Industry

Benin’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture. This sector accounts for 29.4% of Benin’s GDP and employs an estimated 38% of the workforce (World Bank, latest data available). The country has a fertile land, and a third of Benin’s territory is suitable for agriculture (World Bank). Around half of the population rely on subsistence farming for their livelihood, whereas cotton is the main crop and the key export commodity. The cotton sector contributes to 40% of the GDP. Other cultivations include cashew nuts, corn, cassava, yams, beans, palm oil, and peanuts. The export of raw cashew nuts will be banned in 2024 to promote local processing (Coface).

The industrial sector contributes 17% of GDP and gives employment to roughly 18% of the active population. Textiles, food processing, construction materials, and cement are the main sub-sectors.

Services (dominated by trade and transport) account for 47.3% of Benin’s GDP and almost 43% of total employment.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 38.3 18.3 43.4
Value Added (in % of GDP) 29.4 17.0 47.3
Value Added (Annual % Change) 5.2 9.1 6.6

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 593.01582.09555.45586.00575.59

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.



Foreign Trade

Benin is open to foreign trade which represents 63% of its GDP (World Bank). The country is a member of various trade organizations including the World Trade Organisation and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). The vast majority of its trade passes through the port of Cotonou, the capacity of which the government wants to develop.

Benin mainly exports cotton (61% of total exports), cashew nut, coconut, Brazilian nuts, shea nuts, petroleum products, cement, gold, textile products, and seafood to Bangladesh, India, China, Vietnam, Chad, Niger and Egypt. Its main imports are food products (rice, meat, frozen fish), oil products, drugs, vehicles and capital goods from India, China, France, Belgium, Togo, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. It is also quite active in re-exportation, from Nigeria mainly.

For years now, Benin has had a structural trade deficit. In 2021, the trade deficit in goods amounted to USD 888 million (WTO). This is mainly due to low exports which are largely made up of low-cost agricultural products, and the country’s heavy reliance on foreign countries for its oil and energy supply. According to WTO data, in 2021, Benin exported goods with a total value of USD 3.4 billion while it imported goods worth USD 4.3 billion. Concerning services, Benin exported USD 555 million worth of services in 2021 and imported USD 984 million worth of services (WTO). In 2022, net imports deteriorated due to the post-pandemic reduction in shortages, food and energy inflation, and the depreciation of the CFA franc against the dollar (Coface).

Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 3,4944,3753,9323,2634,333
Exports of Goods (million USD) 2,2163,3443,0522,3163,445
Imports of Services (million USD) 577762803578984
Exports of Services (million USD) 323485510410555

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 61.561.863.744.862.7
Trade Balance (million USD) -344-556-444-156n/a
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -704-821-722-436n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 34.334.534.125.034.3
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 27.227.329.619.928.5

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20222023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -8.814.
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -11.513.

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
Benin is a member of the WTO, the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Bangladesh 41.7%
India 10.0%
China 9.8%
Vietnam 5.0%
Egypt 2.7%
See More Countries 30.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
India 17.2%
China 11.7%
France 11.0%
Belgium 5.6%
Togo 4.2%
See More Countries 50.4%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data



Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Patrice TALON (since 6 April 2016) - the president is both chief of state and head of government 
Next Election Dates
Presidential: April 2026
National Assembly: April 2023
Main Political Parties
Benin is formally a multy-party country, however opposition parties have no real chance of gaining power. The main parties are:

Alliance for a Triumphant Benin or ABT : leader Abdoulaye BIO TCHANE
African Movement for Development and Progress or MADEP : leader Sefou FAGBOHOUN
Benin Renaissance or RB : leader Lehady SOGLO
Cowrie Force for an Emerging Benin or FCBE : leader Yayi BONI
Democratic Renewal Party or PRD : leader Adrien HOUNGBEDJI
National Alliance for Development and Democracy or AND : leader Valentin Aditi HOUDE
New Consciousness Rally or NC : leader Pascal KOUPAKI
Patriotic Awakening or RP : leader Janvier YAHOUEDEOU
Social Democrat Party or PSD : leader Emmanuel GOLOU
Sun Alliance or AS : leader Sacca LAFIA
Union Makes the Nation or UN : leader Adrien HOUNGBEDJI (includes PRD, MADEP)
United Democratic Forces or FDU : leader Mathurin NAGO
Executive Power
The President of the Republic is elected for a five-year term by universal suffrage with uninominal majority ballot in two rounds, for maximum two terms (whether consecutive or not). He is the head of state, the holder of the executive power, the head of the Government, and with this title he shall determine and conduct the politics of the nation (art. 54). After an advisory opinion of the National Assembly, the President appoints the members of the Government.
Legislative Power
The legislative power in Benin is vested in the parliament, which is composed of a single chamber called the National Assembly. It is composed of 83 deputies elected every four years by proportional representation in 24 multi-member constituencies.


COVID-19 Country Response

COVID-19 epidemic evolution
To find out about the latest status of the COVID19 pandemic evolution and the most up-to-date statistics on the COVID19 disease in Benin, please visit the Beninese government platform with the official data. The platform provides a daily epidemiological update, which includes key national figures.
For the international outlook you can consult the latest
situation reports published by the World Health Organisation as well as the global daily statistics on the coronavirus pandemic evolution including data on confirmed cases and deaths by country.
Sanitary measures
To find out about the latest public health situation in Benin and the current sanitary measures in vigour, please consult the Beninese government platform including the up-to-date information on the containment measures put in place and public health recommendations.
Travel restrictions
The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new variants, evolves rapidly and differs from country to country. All travelers need to pay close attention to the conditions at their destination before traveling. Regularly updated information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related travel restrictions in place including entry regulations, flight bans, test requirements and quarantine is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
It is also highly recommended to consult COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on the daily basis by IATA.
The US government website of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention provides COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.

The UK Foreign travel advice also provides travelling abroad advice for all countries, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.
Import & export restrictions
So far, no restrictions have been imposed on imports or exports in the Republic of Benin. For information on all the measures applicable to movement of goods during the period of sanitary emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak (including eventual import and export restrictions, if applicable), please consult the Beninese government platform.
For a general overview of trade restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Benin on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.c
Economic recovery plan
So far, no information on the economic recovery plan to deal with the consequences of the COVID19 pandemic on the Beninese economy has been published on the official websites of the Beninese government.
For a general overview of the main economic policy measures (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) taken by the Beninese government to limit the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Benin in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
The country's official sources do not provide information on specific business support programmes following the coronavirus epidemic outbreak.
For a general overview of international SME support policies in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, please refer to the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.
Support plan for exporters
The country's government official sources do not provide information with regards to specific schemes for exporting companies following the coronavirus epidemic outbreak.