Commissioner Piebalgs in Benin to encourage reforms and announce new support to local governments and jobs creation
On 22 November, European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, arrived in Benin for a one-day visit, during which he met with President Thomas Boni Yayi and several key Ministers of the government of Benin. The Commissioner announced funding for decentralisation measures and the strengthening of local governments, as well as financial support for the development of small and medium enterprises.
During his meeting with President Yayi, Commissioner Piebalgs commended Benin's progress in the area of governance and democracy and encourage further reforms of the public finance management, fight against corruption, and the economic and human development of the country. He also explained his recent proposals on the future of EU development policy, which contains a renewed focus on sustainable and inclusive growth as well as on human rights, democracy and good governance.
The new decentralisation project (€45 million) will assist the government of Benin in its efforts to bring decision-making on public service delivery closer to its citizens. It will focus in particular on strengthening the technical capacity of local governments. The private sector project (€15 million) will in particular help to improve access to finance for small to medium enterprises. It will further aim to reinforce their capacity through training, and other measures that assist them in bringing their products to market. This will help to support Benin in achieving much needed economic growth.
Commissioner Piebalgs also met the General Secretary of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), a regional agency in the energy sector, which is instrumental in developing a market of electricity in West Africa. In addition he met a number of key Ministers to have an extended dialogue about the role of infrastructure in promoting economic growth (see list of Ministers below).
Furthermore, he will visit two EU financed projects:
- An agriculture project, ("Programme for water management works for agriculture") which has successfully provided support to food security in the aftermath of the recent food price crisis and led, among other things, to the development of 400 hectares of land for rice cultivation
- A flood protection project that has reduced the flood risks for a population of 30,000 people in Cotonou. (See also MEMO… for both projects)