The government of Benin has begun implementing a Tier II project on Strengthening Productive and Trade Capacities of Benin, under the aegis of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) of which UNCTAD plays an active role. The implementation phase was launched in Benin's seat of government, Cotonou, at a ceremony on 11 June 2015.
Benin's Minister of Trade and Industry, HE. Ms. Françoise A. Assogba officially launched the operational phase of the project.
The ceremony was opened by Mr. Chakirou Tidjani, Benin's Director of External Trade, and speeches were given by Mr. David Quenum, representative of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, donor facilitator in Benin and Mr. Robert R. Akinde, Director General of the Benin Agency for the Trade Promotion.
Speeches were also made by the representatives of EIF implementing agencies, including:
Ms. Aissatou Diallo of the International Trade Center (ITC)
Ms. Siham Chafak of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
Ms. Pramila Crivelli of UNCTAD.
The ceremony was followed by a working session chaired by Minister Assogba to exchange views with technical and financial partners, such as the representatives of the European Union, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Hunger Project Benin, Helvetas, and others.
The session was aimed at ensuring coordination of the project between the various stakeholders, and helped implementing agencies to identify potential national counterparts. At the end of the mission, the three agencies and the government jointly prepared the draft modalities for the implementation and monitoring of the project to be approved shortly.
As part of this project, UNCTAD is in charge of:
Elaboration of the National Trade Policy Document (NTPD)
Provision of technical assistance to build capacities of governmental entities, private sector and civil society and non-governmental organizations in the field of trade integration, negotiations, rules of origin and market access.
The mission identified major challenges to be addressed by the NTPD, in particular strengthening intra-regional trade. Issues related to trade facilitation and trade in services will also be covered.
Finally, in response to an official request by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Benin to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, additional support will be provided by UNCTAD in the field of Geographical Indications to promote traditional products from Benin.