Benin: African Development Bank Group extends €80 million loan for Port of Cotonou upgrading

 Support from the African Development Bank for the Port of Cotonou will enable the construction of a new container terminal called “T5”, among other things.

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group on 14 July 2023 approved a loan of €80 million to Benin to upgrade and extend the Port of Cotonou, one of the main maritime access points for landlocked countries in West Africa.

The loan comprises €55 million from the African Development Bank and €25 million from Africa Growing Together Fund, a special fund co-financed by the African Development Bank and the People’s Bank of China.

Commenting on the approval, Joseph Ribeiro, Deputy Director General for West Africa at the African Development Bank, said the investment would strengthen the Bank Group’s operations in Benin.

Ribeiro said: “The Board of Directors has approved a capital investment for Benin because the Port of Cotonou is a major source of revenue for the country. By expanding and renovating its infrastructure, the port’s capacity and operational efficiency should improve significantly.”

The Bank Group’s funding will enable the construction of a new container terminal and expand the port area to 20 hectares for bulk and miscellaneous cargo. The project also entails the creation of a central access point with automated gantries, a 14-hectare parking area for heavy-duty vehicles equipped with an integrated, digitized management system linked to the port’s database, and an integrated center for faster foreign trade and freight processing. This will cut transit time in the port area to two hours and relieve congestion along nearby roads. It will also help improve working conditions for haulage truckers and the business environment for customs personnel and their technical partners.

The project will take three years to complete.

The Global Center on Adaptation, through the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, provided advanced analyses that have identified and measured the climate risks associated with the investment. It also provided detailed climate-risk assessments, alongside viable investment options for improving adaptation and resilience.

The government of Benin will benefit from the project outcomes through higher tax revenues and dividends. The project will generate jobs, especially during construction, and additional opportunities for port operators and other stakeholders (truck owners and ship loaders).

The Port of Cotonou is a transit port that handles an average of 80 to 90 merchant vessels monthly. It deals with 90 percent of the country’s international trade and 49 percent of transit traffic to Niger (37 percent), Burkina Faso (4 percent), Mali (3 percent) and Nigeria (5 percent). It serves up to 100 million consumers. In 2022, the Port of Cotonou handled 12.5 million tonnes of goods (5 percent more than in 2021). This figure could nearly double to 23 million tonnes by 2038.

The project is part of the Bank’s Country Strategy Paper for Benin for 2022–2026, the second pillar of which focuses on “strengthening the infrastructure that promotes production and economic competitiveness”. It is also aligns with one of the Bank’s High 5s”, “Integrate Africa”.

Created in 1964, the Port of Cotonou represents a strategic economic advantage for Benin. Since 2018 it has been managed by the international Port of Antwerp-Bruges, initially for a three-year period which has been renewed twice.

 African Development Bank Group