Benin Compact

MCC's Compact is Improving Benin's Business Climate

By reducing the cost of and improving access to financial resources, MCC's Benin Compact Access to Financial Services Project aims to ensure that micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises are able to take advantage of business opportunities in the region.

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MCC's Investments in the Port of Cotonou Are Creating Trade Opportunities in Benin

This project in MCC's Compact with Benin reduced ship waiting times and customs clearance times allowing for more international trade growth at the port and speeding imports to landlocked West African countries.

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In February 2006, the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a five-year, $307 million compact with the Government of Benin aimed to increase investments and private sector activity through the implementation of four projects. These projects will increase access to land through more secure and useful land tenure; expand access to financial services through grants given to micro, small, and medium enterprises; provide access to justice by bringing courts closer to rural populations; and improve access to markets by eliminating physical and procedural constraints currently hindering the flow of goods through the Port of Cotonou. The MCC compact in Benin entered into force (EIF) in October 2006, formally initiating the five-year timeline for project implementation.

For the most up-to-date information on implementation progress, please read the Quarterly Status Report.

  • Signed:
    February 22, 2006
  • Entry into Force:
    October 6, 2006
  • Completed:
    October 6, 2011

Financial data as of March 31, 2012.

This project aims to improve the efficiency of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to respond to opportunities by reducing costs and improving access to financial services. The Project will improve financial services provided to MSMEs, increase microfinance institutions’ (MFIs’) self-sufficiency, decrease MFIs’ portfolio at risk, and increase loans guaranteed with land titles.

  • Create a grant facility to support MSMEs and to expand financial services;
  • Strengthen supervision of microfinance institutions;
  • Arrange stakeholder forums on expanding financial services;
  • Improve the financial sector regulatory environment;
  • Improve the microfinance credit information bureau; and
  • Help financial institutions increase lending based on land as collateral.

This project aims to strengthen the institutional environment for business and investment in Benin by improving the ability of the judicial system to resolve claims. This Project is expected to increase the number of cases resolved per year, increase the number of cases treated by the Arbitration Center, and decrease the time required to register an enterprise.

  • Expand the Arbitration Center of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
  • Improve the Business Registration Center;
  • Train judges and court personnel and strengthen the Inspector General Office;
  • Build a Legal Information Center accessible to the public;
  • Provide legal aid to poor litigants through NGOs; and
  • Construct eight new courts of first instance and one court of appeal.

This Project aims to create secure land tenure for the poor and non-poor alike and to create effective, transparent governance of land and property issues. This Project is expected to reduce the time and cost to obtain a title and to increase land security.

  • Improve land administration and management;
  • Formalize property rights in rural and urban areas;
  • Decentralize land registration by establishing regional offices; and
  • Provide education on land policy.

This project aims to improve the performance and security, expand capacity, and reduce costs of the Port of Cotonou. A modernized Port will be more efficient and reduce time for shippers. Increased volume and reduced costs will benefit the entire Beninese economy.

  • Construct a new south wharf;
  • Upgrade roads and gates and install new fire protection and security systems;
  • Construct new bulk handling facilities
  • Establish a fish/seafood inspection-handling facility; and
  • Modernize customs, improve port procedures and train personnel.

MCA-Benin: Benin Compact Closeout Video

Discover how MCC’s $307 million compact with Benin addressed obstacles to economic growth by expanding a major port, promoting land security, improving access to capital and creating a more efficient judicial system.

  • May 5, 2004

    Benin first named eligible for Millennium Challenge Account assistance

    The Board of Directors selects Benin as one of 16 countries eligible for MCC funding in 2005. The Board considered both past and current policy performance of candidate countries in the areas of democratic governance, economic freedom, and investing in the health and education of their people, as well as trends that indicated policy improvements or declines.
  • February 21, 2006

    MCC and the Republic of Benin sign $307 million poverty reduction grant

    The $307 million Benin Compact focuses on improving access to markets, access to justice, access to financial services, and access to land, and is expected to directly benefit 100 percent of Benin’s population.
  • October 5, 2006

    MCC's Benin Compact enters into force

    Entry into force of the Benin Compact signals the beginning of the compact’s implementation phase and five-year program term. Initial stages focus on competitive hiring of staff and preparation of procurements required for compact activities.
  • April 23, 2008

    Official installation of members of MCA-Benin's Bid Challenge committee

    The Bid Challenge committee is part of a system designed to ensure transparency and fairness in procedures for the award of contracts to MCA-Benin. The installation of committee members marked the effective start of the system’s activities.
  • October 15, 2008

    National Assembly passes the Code of Civil, Commercial, Administrative and Social Procedure in Benin

    This act, whose passage was promoted by MCA-Benin, formalized guidelines for business and investment in Benin. The act was later reviewed by Benin’s Constitutional Court, voted on again in the National Assembly, and finally signed into law.
  • January 6, 2009

    MCA-Benin signs memorandum of understanding with communes (regional provinces)

    This memorandum of understanding enabled MCA-Benin to fully finance land titling operations.
  • March 9, 2009

    Access to Markets environmental impact report published

    The Access to Markets activity, which includes rehabilitation and construction of the Port of Cotonou, aims to help Benin accelerate its economic growth and to push back the frontiers of poverty. The environmental impact report ensured that the activity maintained respect for the environment and followed best practices in environmental conservation.
  • August 16, 2009

    Two-day training workshop begins for professionals in microfinance institutions

    The workshop is designed to improve the effectiveness of financial services, and the capacity of the actors in this sector.
  • September 9, 2009

    Government of Benin signs Concession Agreement for new container terminal at the Port of Cotonou

    Before beginning construction on the Port of Cotonou’s new South Wharf, MCC required the Government of Benin to turn over operation of the new terminal to the private sector. In September 2009, the Government of Benin signs a 25-year concession agreement with Groupement Bolloré, a private sector firm. The International Finance Corporation advised the Government of Benin on this transaction, which was structured in less than eight months from kickoff to signature—a record-setting performance for the industry. Groupement Bolloré commits to pay $200 million in fees over the first eight years of operations, and to invest a minimum of $256 million in operating equipment and civil works over the life of the concession. The expected results include creation of more than 450 jobs, increased competitiveness of the Port of Cotonou, doubling of container traffic in the first eight years of operation, and increased opportunities to develop external markets.
  • September 28, 2009

    MCA-Benin signs first grant agreements of the Challenge Facility Grant Fund to provide assistance t

    In signing its first grant agreements for the Challenge Facility, a microfinance grant fund, MCA-Benin contributes to the expansion of the financial capacity of small and medium-sized companies in Benin. The Challenge Facility is the implementing tool of the Access to Financial Services Project, designed to strengthen, based on competition and through a grant mechanism, the capacity of networks and associations of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), financial institutions and providers of non-financial services to MSMEs.
  • October 19, 2009

    Government of Benin signs decree to establish Centralized Agency for Business Formalization

    The Centralized Agency for Business Formalization (GUFE) is endowed with organizational and financial autonomy, and reports to the Ministry for Trade. The new decree and creation of the GUFE reduces the number of steps required for business registration and business activity. MCA-Benin followed up the signing of the decree with outreach to stakeholders in government, business and the legal community.
  • November 18, 2009

    Challenge Facility grantees receive motorbikes under the first signed grant agreement to support fie

    The first batch of 140 motorbikes are delivered to the first generation of Challenge Facility beneficiaries. The motorbikes will resolve lasting transportation barriers, increasing access to markets and other necessary business services.
  • January 3, 2010

    Training begins for judicial sector leadership and staff

    The Regional Judges Higher School in Porto-Novo begins hosting a training session for judges, attorneys, registrars and other court officers. The sessions will build professional capacity of judicial personnel. Ninety judges, 60 registrars, 10 attorneys, 6 notaries and 4 ushers will be trained in modules specifically designed for each category of judicial worker . The month-long training sessions are the first in a series of three that will take place every six months.
  • March 3, 2010

    Training begins for banks and financial institutions in specific operational demands of microfinance

    Most of Benin's rural population lives below the poverty line and is excluded from the nation's formal banking system. Improving the microfinance sector will allow the excluded majority to eventually gain access to financial services in order to better finance income-generating activities. From March 4—5, 2010, MCA-Benin organized a workshop on "Specifics in the operation and needs of microfinance institutions” for professionals from Benin’s banks and financial institutions. This workshop is part of a triennial training program for Benin’s banks and financial institutions staff.
  • April 18, 2010

    Construction begins on Benin's Legal Information Center

    A joint ceremony celebrating access to the site, laying of the first-stone, and launch of construction for the Legal Information Center under the Access to Justice Project takes place on April 19, 2010. The lack of access to legal information, case law and court judgments, and other laws and regulations to citizens and legal professionals led to the development of the Legal Information Center. It is the first of its kind in Benin.
  • April 18, 2010

    Works commence for waterside and landside improvements to the Port of Cotonou

    MCA-Benin launches waterside and landside improvement construction projects at the Port of Cotonou.
  • August 2, 2010

    Twenty-Three Microfinance Inspectors are sworn in

    Under MCA-Benin's support to the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Monitoring Unit of Decentralized Financial Bodies (CSSFD), 23 Microfinance Inspectors are sworn in at the Court of First Instance in Cotonou. MCA-Benin continued its inspection visits to the CSSFD, provided the Monitoring Unit with required equipment for its operation, and supported training of the new sworn-in officers throughout the compact term.
  • August 29, 2010

    Construction begins on new courthouses

    MCA-Benin, together with the Minister of Justice and the U.S. Ambassador to Benin, conducts the official launch of the construction of four trial courts (in Abomey-Calavi, Allada, Savalou and Pobè) and the Abomey Court of Appeal as part of the compact’s Access to Justice Project.
  • February 6, 2011

    Benin is admitted to the World Geodetic System

    This event marks international recognition for Benin for the high quality of its geodetic (land mapping) equipment. Benin is one of few African nations to be admitted into the network.
  • February 7, 2011

    MCA-Benin delivers first Rural Landholding Plans to municipalities

  • February 9, 2011

    MCA-Benin launches legal assistance program for vulnerable people

    MCA-Benin operationalizes a legal aid fund to assist the most vulnerable in obtaining access to justice, including truck and bus drivers; market vendors; micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; and farmers and agricultural producers. Municipal training and information sessions commence; 1,088 people—25 percent of whom are women—have already benefited from legal assistance.
  • February 24, 2011

    Port of Cotonou installs ASYCUDA ++ management software

    The Port of Benin implements ASYCUDA ++ software to strengthen its competitiveness through enhanced management of large volumes of goods.
  • June 8, 2011

    New Center of Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation opens

    The MCC-funded Center of Arbitration, Mediation and Concialiation will strengthen Benin's capacity to promote alternative modes of commercial and industrial conflict resolution. At the end of March 2011, 239 groups had utilized the Center.
  • June 30, 2011

    Port of Cotonou acquires MCC-funded tugboat

    This ship, commissioned by MCA-Benin, will guide large ships inland to the port and facilitate safe docking.
  • October 4, 2011

    MCA-Benin completes construction of four new courthouses in rural areas

  • October 5, 2011

    The five-year, $307 million Benin Compact officially concludes with celebratory closeout events in Benin

    MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes travels to Cotonou to celebrate the Benin Compact's success Government of Benin officials, civil society representatives, business leaders, and program beneficiaries.