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.