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Muslimtrade Network members
about Benin.

B  E  N  I  N 

1-1 General characteristics:
1-2. General Information:
1.3. The legal framework of trade relationships:

2-1. Main exported products:
2-2. Main imported products:
2-3 Main trading partners:

3-1. Imports regulations:
3-2 Exports regulations:
3-3. Other formalities and documents:

4-1 Banking system:
4-2. Exchange system:
4-3. Methods and means for international settlement:

5-1 Applicable duties and taxes:
5-2.Special provisions:

6-1 International transport:
6-2 Telecommunications:
6-3 distribution system:



1-1 General characteristics: 

Official Name: People’s Republic of Benin
Area: 122,622 square kilometers
Population: 5.7 million inhabitants in 1996
Density: 50 inhabitants per square kilometer.
Capital: Cotonou
Climate: There are two climatic zones. To the North: Tropical climate with dry season from November to May and a rainy season from June to September. To the South: equatorial climate very muggy with four seasons: two dry seasons (from November to March and from mid-July to mid-September) and two rainy seasons (from April to mid-July and from mid-September to October).
Main holidays: January 1st, January 16th, April 1st, May 1st, May 23rd, August 1st (Independence feast), August 15t(Assumption), October 26th, November 1st (All Saint’s day), November, 30th, December 23rd, December 25th(Noël), December, 31st, Easter Monday*, Ascension*, Eid ul Fitr*, Tabaski Feast*, Eid el Mouloud*, Good Friday*  

(*) Variable Dates
Weekly holidays: Saturday and Sunday

1-2. General Information:  

Languages:  French
Currency: CFA franc. 1US$= 523.70 CFA F end of 1996.
Local time: GMT + 1.
Working hours:
Administration and business: Monday-Friday: from 8.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.; And from 3.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.; Saturday (administrations): from 8.00 a.m. to 12.30 a.m.  Banks: Monday-Friday: From 8 a.m. to 12.30 a.m. And from 3.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.
Weekly holidays Saturday and Sunday

1.3. The legal framework of trade relationships: 

In addition to several agreements signed with several countries of the world, Benin is member of the following international organizations:

World Trade Organization (WTO); 
United Nations Organization (UNO) and its specialized organs; 
Organization of African Unity (OAU); 
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC); 
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); 
West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). 



2-1. Main exported products: 

raw oil; 
palm products; 

2-2. Main imported products: 

Foodstuffs; beverages and tobacco; 
Petroleum products; 
Intermediate goods. 

2-3 Main trading partners: 

Main suppliers

Main customers






United Kingdom

United States of America

Hong Kong






Within the framework of measures to boost foreign trade, Benin liberalized its foreign trade.

3-1. Imports regulations: 

The following products only are prohibited for imports: products that affect public morality, the national economy, the health and life of humans, animals, plants and culture.

Import documentary requirements are as follows: 

Commercial invoice: two copies of the commercial invoice are required, containing the names of the exporter and consignee, the number and types of packages, the marks and numbers on the packages, the gross weight, the CIF value, the terms of sale, and the description of merchandise. 
Certificate of origin: Two copies of the certificate of origin are required. A recognized chamber of commerce should certify them. 
Packing list: it is required for customs clearance. 
Bill of lading: the bill of lading must show the name of the shipper, the name and address of the consignee, port of destination, description of the goods, listing of freight and other charges, the number of the bill of lading in the full set, and the and signature of the carrier’s official acknowledging receipt on board of the goods for shipment. 

Two copies of the pro forma invoice are necessary for import license purposes. They must be certified and state CIF and FOB official prices. 

3-2 Exports regulations: 

Exports are liberalized in the Republic of Benin.

An authorization from the Office of Foreign Trade is required. However the Ministry of Finance must guarantee the Export of Gold and diamonds or any other precious metals or stones.

Yet this measure do not concern the following activities:

Gold Export by the Central Ban; 

The exports of gods containing small quantities of gold; 

Personal jewelry whose weight do not exceed 500gr; 

Animal and plants imports must be coupled with health certificates. 

3-3. Other formalities and documents: 

Import license was abolished in Benin. Yet, customs declaration is required. Goods intended for Benin must be subjected to a preshipment inspection on quantity, quality and price.

Domiciliation is required for all import and Export operations. Products exported to Benin must meet the international standard requirements and they must be labeled in French, marked and adequately packed.


4-1 Banking system:  

the Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO) assumes the same responsibility as the Central Bank of Benin when transactions are made between this country and the UEMOA countries.

Banks yield good results in Benin. In 1194, they recorded deposits estimated at 125 billion CFAF. These are: the Financial Bank, Bank of Africa-Benin (BOA-B), Ecobank Benin SA, Banque Internationale du Benin (BIBE), Crédit Lyonnais Benin.

Economic operators have requested from the government the creation of a development bank.

4-2. Exchange system: 

Since August 2nd, 1993, the CFAF convertibility outside the Franc zone has been suspended. Nevertheless this measure does not affect the principle of free transfers and the CFAF convertibility is guaranteed by co-operation with France.

4-3. Methods and means for international settlement:  

All means are used in Benin. The methods and means to be used are decided between partners.

The payment of trade transactions is made through correspondent banks in France in the currency of the exporter. All values exceeding more than CFAF 500,000 must be domiciled with an authorized intermediary bank. 


5-1 Applicable duties and taxes: 

The applied customs duties are: 0, 5, 10, 15 or 20% on the CIF value.

Products from UMEOA countries are exempted from customs duties but they are subject to fiscal taxes and other specific taxes.

Oil products and other foodstuffs are subject to a reduced specific tax.

Products from the European Union and the franc zone countries may be exempted from customs duties. 

5-2.Special provisions: 

Reduced taxes are imposed on pharmaceuticals, school or public products. 

Preferential duties exist between Benin and the UEMOA countries, the ACP countries, the Council of the Entente countries, the ECOWAS countries. 

An additional tax of 15% is applied to all products from the ECOWAS countries.


6-1 International transport:  

Benin is particularly a transit country of the sub-area for Nigeria, Togo and for landlocked countries such as Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.

Maritime transport: Benin is provided with a port in Cotonou whose reception capacity is estimated at 2,000,000 tons per year. It is exploited by some large public companies: the autonomous port of Cotonou, the Sociétè Beninoise de Manutention portuaire (Port handling Company of Benin), the compagnie Béninoise de Navigation Maritime (Shipping Company of Benin) and the conseil National de Chargeurs du Benin (National carriers council of Benin). 

Besides, there are a lot of transport agents, consignees and large international companies.

Some countries of Hinterland such as Burkina Faso have constructed at Cotonou ports warehouses to store their goods.

Railway transport: In 1995, the railway network extended over 579 km. It mainly links Cotonou to Parakou. 

The organization Benin-Niger des chemins de fer (provided with a 600,000T capacity per year), ensures the rail-road transport of goods to Niger which are unloaded in Cotonou port. 

Land transport: In 1995, the road network of national and international interest extended over 8,460 km of which 31.4% are asphalted. Important works were carried out between 1993 and 1996 to enable the country to play correctly its role of country of transit. 

Some of these works have facilitated access to Burkina Faso and Niger.

Air transport: Benin is provided with an international class airport accessible in all seasons and to any kind of airplane including airliners. 

It is served by important air companies of which Air Africa, Air France, Ghana Airways, Sabena, Aero-flot, Air Gabon, Nigeria Airways, Cameroun airlines which go to all destinations. Cotonou airport is used for goods transit to some Central African countries Such as Central Africa and Chad.

6-2 Telecommunications:  

Telecommunications are ensured by the Office des Postes et Telecommunications (OPT) and the Office de Radiodiffusion et Telecommunications du Benin (ORTB) and some private express mail companies. 

Created in 1890, the (ORTB) has been developed with a view to improving and diversifying the services that it offers to its customers.

Thanks to this policy, The (ORTB) offers all services including Minitel through BENINPAC Which enables burst data transmission.

6-3 distribution system:  

Wholesalers and those dealing in small quantities ensure distribution. There are also well-structured large companies, which operate in this sector.

Benin suffers from the unfair competition of the informal sector Due to Nigeria’s neighborhood. 


Organizations and public establishments



Ministère du Commerce, de l’Artisanat et du tourisme P.B. 2037 Cotonou Tel : (229) 315267 

Fax : (229) 315258
Centre béninois du commerce extérieur Place du souvenir 

P.B.1254 Cotonou
Tel : (229) 301320 

Fax : (229) 300436 
Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie du Benin Avenue du Général De Gaulles 

P.B. 31 Cotonou
Tel : (229) 312081  

Fax : (229) 313299
Centre de promotion et d’encadrement des petites et moyennes entreprises B.P. 2093 Cotonou Tel: (229) 314447 

Fax: (229) 315950
Banque centrale des Etats de l’Afrique e l’Ouest Route de Lomé 352 Cotonou 


Tel : (229) 315211 

Telex: 5211 

Fax : (229) 312465

Socété Nationale de commercialisation des produits pétroliers Avenue d’ornano, B.P. 245 Cotonou Tel: (229) 312290 

Telex: 5245