Results around the world – Benin
Benin is one of the least developed countries in the world. Its high population growth had impeded the reduction of poverty in the country. Benin ranked 167th out of 188 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2016 Human Development Index, and 144th out of 159 countries on the UNDP’s 2015 Gender Inequality Index. Nearly half of the population lives on less than US$1.25 per day. However, significant progress has been made in terms of education, the fight against HIV/AIDS, the reduction of child mortality among children under five, and the improvement of access to safe drinking water. Benin’s economy has also experienced relatively stable growth rates in the past few years.
Despite the fact that gender equality is written into the constitution and the government promotes gender equality, discriminatory cultural practices persist and deprive Beninese women of their rights. For example, the majority of Beninese women living in a relationship (whether married or common-law) cannot make their own decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health. Women’s political representation is also very low.
Canada’s development assistance in Benin supports the Programme d’actions du gouvernement(PAG) 2016-2021. One of the three key pillars of the PAG is improving people’s living conditions, which is in line with Canada’s programs that target the following action areas:
- gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, by promoting the respect of their rights
- human dignity, with a focus on the promotion of adolescent sexual and reproductive health among adolescent girls; improvement of access to vocational and technical training for youth, especially for girls; and the improvement of health and nutrition, especially for girls
- growth that works for everyone, with a focus on the promotion of women’s access to resources for agri-food production and processing
In addition, Canada contributed to nutrition and health priorities by supporting multilateral organizations, including the Scaling Up Nutrition, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and GAVI – The Vaccine Alliance.
- Through Développement international Desjardins, Canada helped to increase membership in Benin’s Faîtière des caisses d’épargne et de crédit agricole mutuel, the country’s largest cooperative financial institution. In 2017, membership stood at 1,022,311, up from 593,467 in 2009. This achievement helped to improve the economic situation of the people of Benin.
- Since 2015, Canada has helped the Government of Benin to reinforce the management of its financial administration through the Support to the Increase of Internal Revenues in Benin project. The Direction Générale des Impôts et Domaine’s (DGID) management systems and electronic services were operational and reinforcement of the information system was almost entirely completed. As a result, the Government of Benin was able from this point foward to allocate more funding to programs and services targeting the country’s most vulnerable citizens, including women.
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