Benin is a substantially poor country, characterized by a marked dualism, with strong demographic pressure and penalized by a de facto dependence on the economic performance of neighboring Nigeria. Alongside a relatively modern public sector, agricultural and industrial activities that are quite efficient and productive, but which involve a largely minority component of the population, there is a vast informal sector, able to produce barely for its own food needs and which, in the vicinity of the border with Nigeria, uses proceeds from smuggling and border trade. According to abbreviationfinder, BN is the 2 letter abbreviation for the country of Benin.
After 1972, the assumption of power by progressive military elements determined new orientations of economic policy, on the basis of which, while not neglecting the need for export agriculture, the objective of food self-sufficiency was set. In the industrial field, the development plans launched at the end of the seventies have paid particular attention to the take-off of the manufacturing sector, aiming above all at strengthening the industries that use raw materials of agricultural origin.
At the beginning of the nineties, the Benin, accepting the austerity plan imposed by the International Monetary Fund, embarked on a series of socially painful but necessary economic reforms to get the country out of the state of crisis in which it was experiencing. After seven years, the economic situation has become less severe, despite the heavy deficit of the public budget and the trade balance, and the still substantial external debt (1594 million dollars at the end of 1996).
Agriculture remains the main activity: most of the products are now destined for internal consumption, while among those of plantation only cotton has a certain importance (47 % of total exports in 1995). Oil is one of the few resources of the subsoil and, even if with a modest production, it contributes positively to the support of the national economy. The industry continues to be linked above all to the processing of agricultural products.
According to countryaah, Benin’s business is strongly influenced by relations with Nigeria. The dependence has led to a dual business structure with a modern sector, comprising the state administration, industry and modern agriculture, and a more traditional sector, extensive self-sustaining agriculture and (illegal) border trade with Nigeria. The country is very poor, and both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have supported economic reforms and poverty reduction. Economic growth has been good for most of the 1990s, but it is heavily dependent on the world market price of cotton, one of the country’s most important export products.
Main crops are cassava, jams, corn and millet. Complemented with traditional livestock management and fishing, Benin’s agriculture can handle the country’s food supply. The most important export products from agriculture are cotton, palm oil, oil palm nuts, peanuts and to some extent coffee. Production of these and rice, tomatoes, onions and other vegetables has increased as a result of increased border trade with Nigeria.
Minerals and industry
The country’s most important raw materials are limestone for cement production, oil (the Sémé fields in the sea outside Cotonou) and natural gas. Phosphate, chromium and iron deposits have been registered in northern Benin. Industrial production is limited and, in addition to building materials, mainly focuses on the processing of primary products. Major textile industries include a textile factory in Parakou and a cement factory in Onigbolo.
Benin has a deficit in foreign trade. However, the deficit is somewhat offset by money shipments from Beninis abroad and by U-help. In 2017, exports were dominated by cotton, cash nuts and textiles. Imports were dominated in the same year by food, capital goods and oil products. The main export recipients were Bangladesh, India and Ukraine. Imports in the same year were dominated by Thailand, India and France. Benin has received radioactive waste from France for compensation. The country has further agreed to receive other hazardous waste from Europe.