Bank Group (AfDB) Director-General for the West African Region, Janvier Litse visited the Republic of Benin from 10 to 12 April 2017 as part of a dialogue mission with the country's authorities.
The visit falls within the Bank's commitment to strengthen cooperation with member States. It provided an opportunity to discuss issues related to the imminent opening of the Bank's National Office in the country. Discussions between a Bank-led multidisciplinary team and the Government officials enabled the two parties to agree on key issues including the facilities, immunities, privileges and exemptions of the National Office and its staff.
The Agreement establishing the National Office was signed by Benin's Foreign and Cooperation Minister, Aurélien Agbénonci.
Janvier Litse co-signed the Agreement and the aide-memoire of the negotiations, and expressed appreciations for the constructive and collaborative spirit of the two parties. He said: "The Bank's decision to open an Office in Benin falls within the framework of its new Development and Business Delivery Model (DBDM), the first principle of which is to bring the Bank closer to its clients with a view to achieving its 2013-2022 strategy, in particular its High Five priorities."
The Director-General reassured the authorities that every effort would be made for the Office to quickly become operational, as per the wish of the Bank's senior management and of Benin Government.
Two agreements (loans and grants) worth 9.5 million euros (Approximately 6.2 billion CFA francs), were inked to support a project on Community Forest Management Phase II in Benin.
Speaking on the occasion, the State Minister for Planning and Development and Governor for Benin, Abdoulaye Bio Tchané, welcomed the AfDB's decision to move closer to its clients, which according to him, "would strengthen the effectiveness of AfDB's operations." He also highlighted the role that the Bank would play in the implementation of the Government's Action Plan (PAG). "The AfDB has long been a champion of Benin's development. The opening of a National Office should significantly scale up PAG implementation," he said.
Director General Litse's meeting with government representatives also focused on cooperation and the prospects for Bank interventions to support Benin's 2017-2021 strategy and the government's action plan. The talks are a follow-up of the discussions between Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina and Benin President, Patrice Talon, during his visit to the Bank in Abidjan on 11 January 2017. Litse discussed the status of the country's portfolio and the need to improve its performance with the government authorities. The meetings also identified the priorities for the Bank's interventions in support to the PAG 2017-2021, namely agriculture and infrastructure.