Benin and Niger signed a regional compact during the recent U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington. The compact is designed to reduce transportation costs along the corridor between the Port of Cotonou in Benin and Niger’s capital city of Niamey.
Millennium Challenge Corporation will invest $202 million in Benin and $302 million in Niger. These investments will be further supported by $15 million in contributions from both Benin and Niger and are expected to benefit an estimated 1.6 million people.
Benin and Niger are two of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Their partnership will support growth, strengthen trade and transportation infrastructure, and connect their nations, their industries, and their people, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken:
“The port in Benin is critical to the economy of West Africa, the Cotonou port. For Benin, it’s a major source of revenue, facilitating international trade, allowing the export of its products. For neighboring countries like Niger, this port is the main gateway for exporting goods to markets around the world, as well as for importing vital products, including food and cooking oil.”
“The MCC compacts will invest more than half a billion dollars in that infrastructure, and they’ll do it with grants, which means that they won’t saddle governments with debt,” said Secretary Blinken.
“The projects will bear the hallmarks of America’s partnership. They’ll be transparent, they’ll be high quality, they’ll be accountable to the people that they mean to serve, and they’ll also support good governance. When completed, these projects will make it faster and safer to transport goods along roads and across borders, and they’ll connect Benin and Niger to bigger markets and greater opportunities,” he said. “These are developments that in turn can help economies grow sustainably and equitably and deliver meaningful pathways to prosperity for hundreds of thousands, if not more, people.”
At the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, “we’ve made it a priority to mobilize these kinds of investments because we know that this is how you create real, tangible benefits for people on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Secretary Blinken.
The Benin-Niger Compact “is a milestone; this is innovation,” declared Secretary Blinken. “I think it points the way forward. . .for Africa and for our friends in Benin and Niger.”