Nigeria may be Africa’s fastest growing economy, it is its small neighbour Benin (population: 10 million people) that currently attracts attention. Many goods destined for Nigeria are shipped through the port of Benin’s commercial capital, the city of Cotonou.
Benin also has a growing middle class with a new appetite for a range of consumer goods. Consulting firm A.T. Kearney ranked Benin as the 11th most attractive market for retailers in Africa, ahead of countries such as Angola, Zambia and Kenya. Cotonou is seen as a transport hub on the crossroads of West African commerce with countries like Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
Benin holds potential in agriculture, especially in areas such as fruit, cotton and palm oil production. Benin is expected to soon resume with crude oil production, which could hold benefits for the broader economy. The country started producing oil in the 1970s but stopped by the end of the 1990s when funds dried up.