Sekondi Accra

President Thomas Yayi Boni was re-elected in March of 2011 by securing 53% of the votes. His re-election bid was cast in doubt when in August 2010 the National Assembly passed a law to hold presidential and legislative elections simultaneously. The president also alienated members of his party Forces Cauris pour un Benin' Emergent through his choices of parliamentary candidates. However, he avoided any political miscues through adroit campaigning.

On the advent of a 2011 election, he faced strong opposition from Adrien Houngbedji who had the support of the Parti Social-Democrate and Parti de la Renaissaance du Benin', the party of former President Nicephore Soglo. Now that he has been re-elected, President Boni has to overcome an opposition controlled parliament that has hindered most of his political initiatives.

The $190 million ICC Services pyramid-scheme scandal in mid 2010 provided political ammunition for Boni's opposition leaders because he had been photographed in promotional material with ICC managers. In mid-August 2010, nearly two-thirds members of parliament called for the president to be tried for fraud and treason. However, to his credit, the president dismissed Interior Minister Armand Zinzindohoue' in July 2010, accusing him of direct involvement in the scandal which had swindled more than 100,000 people.

The Internatioanl Monetary Fund (IMF) states that Benin's economic growth will increase at a modest pace, 2.8%, in 2010, leveling off at about 3.6% in 2011. While the government had hoped to transform the economy which is based largely on mechanized agriculture coupled with the West African transit trade into an emerging market, plans have been stalled due to budget gaps. The privatisation of Benin's cotton monopoly to the Societe de Developpement du Coton has not been all that successful as yields have decreased appreciably from 480,000 tons in 2004 to about 150,000 tons in 2010. Forty-five percent (45%) of Benin's revenue is attributed to Cotonou, the major port located on the Gulf of Guinea, however corruption by a succession of port directors has slowed economic growth. In 2010 the government entrusted management of the Organisation Commune des Chemis de Fer Benin-Niger railway system to PIC Network will help facilitate transport. In October 2010 more than 100,000 people were displaced by floods which eroded lands that produce about one-third of Benin's staple crops.

The IMF has been most critical of the government's slow enactment implementing what it deems are necessary economic reforms. When the government distributed bonuses to public sector employees, largely due to the upcoming 2010 elections, which led to fiscal increases in the first half of 2010 many economic analysts expressed the need to set "limits on recurrent expenditures". This ahead of an ensuing civil-service wage bill which many beleive threatens resources in adjacent areas, like infrastructure and social services not to mention delays in privatization of Benin Telecom and Societe Beninoise d'Electricite et d'Eau.


Official Data


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Benin maintains an embassy in the United States at 2124 Kalorama Road, Washington, DC 20008, tel. 202-232-6656. The Permanent Representative of the Republic of Benin to the United Nations is located at 4 East 73rd Street, New York, NY 10021, tel. 212-249-6014, fax 212-734-4735.
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