BENIN – Benin has sealed a US$77.9 million financing agreement with the Kingdom of Netherlands for the establishment of a new state-of-the-art artisanal fishing port in the country’s economic capital and largest city Cotonou.

The agreement was signed by Romuald Wadagni,  Minister of Economy and Finance, on behalf of the Benin Government and Joris Jurriens, the ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The funding will come primarily from the Dutch fund Invest International and will be used to establish the new fishing port in Xwlacodji which is one of the 15 neighbourhoods in the city.

The port, set to be built on an expansive 8-hectare site, is envisioned to become a hub for artisanal and semi-industrial fishing activities, addressing the current inadequacies in the sector.

The General Directorate of the Autonomous Port of Cotonou highlighted on its website that the construction is slated to span 18 months, culminating in the port’s delivery by December 2025.

Beyond just infrastructure development, the ambitious project also seeks to create a comprehensive marketing and processing zone for fishing products.

The approach is anticipated to stimulate the commercial activities of all stakeholders involved in artisanal and semi-industrial fishing, including fishermen and fishmongers.

The new artisanal fishing port, with its advanced facilities, is expected to significantly contribute to the nation’s quest for self-sufficiency in fish production.

The port also aligns with the broader strategy to reduce the reliance on imports, a trend highlighted by the staggering figures of US$105.8 million spent on imports in 2018, compared to a mere US$58,000 in exports.

Providing nearly 8% of the agricultural GDP, the industry is, however, a vital source of animal protein for the nation’s populace, according to a 2019 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United.

Data from the Agricultural Statistics Directorate (DSA) also reveals that fishery production reached around 77,000 tonnes in 2021.

Remarkably, over half of this output, more than 37,500 tonnes, emanated from artisanal maritime production, showcasing the pivotal role that this specific type of fishing plays in the country’s output.


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