On behalf on my Beninese authorities, I would like to thank Management and staff for the continued advice and technical assistance provided to them in their ongoing development efforts. They are particularly appreciative of the valuable contribution of the Fund in the organization of a conference in Cotonou in June 2014. The objective of the conference was to identify priority structural reforms that would boost growth over the medium-term in the context of their new national development plan rolled out in 2014.
The national development plan envisages, among others, a scaling-up of public investment between 2014 and 2018, in the context of a structural investment program, which focuses on upgrading physical infrastructure, notably in the energy and transport sectors and through PPPs. In this regard, the Beninese authorities organized in June 2014 a roundtable in Paris with donors and private investors to mobilize public and private financing for the implementation of the investment program. They secured a US$375-million financing from the Millenium Challenge Corporation in September 2015 to strengthen Benin’s national utility, attract private sector investment, and fund infrastructure investments in electric generation and distribution as well as off-grid electrification for poor and unserved households.
The present staff report gives a good account of the discussions held in Cotonou and of the authorities’ medium-term financial and economic policies. My Beninese authorities appreciate the focus of the Selected Issues Paper on the financial sector’s contribution to sustainable economic growth. They also welcome the policy recommendations of the systematic growth and fiscal analysis recently carried out by staff on ways to pursue the envisaged investment program without jeopardizing the country’s solid macroeconomic performance.