More than 100 representatives of the Government, private sector and development partners attended a national workshop on investment facilitation in Cotonou on 28 April 2017.
Mr. Is-Dine Bouraïma, Director-General of the Investment and Export Promotion Agency (APIEx), opened the session by reminding that “one key priority for Benin now is to mobilize financial resources through FDI”. He stressed that “the dissemination of the Investment Policy Review (IPR) Monitoring Report to the various actors and the official launch of the new single window for business registration will help to strengthen Benin’s competitiveness”.
The flows of FDI in Benin have registered an increase since 2007. However, they remain volatile and their relative performance is below the regional average and below other less advanced countries in Africa. This is why the Government of Benin, with the financial support of the Netherlands, has requested UNCTAD assistance for several activities, including the EPI Monitoring Report and the online single window for business registration.
The online single window for business registration (MonEntreprise.bj) simplified and rationalized the administrative formalities to operate legally in Benin. The entrepreneur fills out a single form online, loads the documents in an electronic file and chooses one mobile payment solution to register simultaneously with the relevant administrations (Trade Registry, Tax Department, etc.). Certificates are delivered within 24 hours at the APIEX regional office. With MonEnterprise.bj, Benin joins the shortlist of 31 countries offering an online single window as listed by UNCTAD in the Global Enterprise Registration Index.
During the event, UNCTAD emphasized the role that FDI can play in helping Benin meet its development goals and the value of a targeted investment strategy. The importance of facilitating investment, in particular through the simplification of the administrative procedures for operating a business, is key. Mr Harry Van Dijk, Ambassador of the Netherlands, stressed that he was “convinced that the private sector is a critical and strategic leverage for development”.