(Ecofin Agency) - The President of Benin Republic, Patrice Talon (pictured, left) brought back home thirteen deals signed with the Chinese government during his visit to Beijing. The partnerships seek to accelerate Chinese cooperation and investment mainly in healthcare, infrastructures, digital economy, and agriculture.
In detail, four agreements were signed between Romuald Wadagni, Benin's Minister of State for the Economy, Finance and Cooperation, and Zheng Shanjie, head of China's National Development Commission. They include a three-year cooperation plan for 2023-2026, a letter of intent focusing on the "Belt and Road" initiative, and memorandums relating to grain management and economic development.
Wang Wentao, China's Minister of Commerce, also signed three other agreements with the Beninese Minister on the creation of a group dedicated to investment and cooperation, as well as the expansion of investment in green development and the digital economy. Two other deals were reached with Zhao Fengtao, Vice-President of the China International Development Cooperation Agency. They concern technical cooperation and the implementation of the Global Development Initiative.
Additionally, four other agreements were reached between the Beninese Foreign Minister Shegun Bakari and FU Hua, President of XINHUA News Agency, to promote communication in the health sector. Another deal concerns the export of Beninese pineapples to China.
"China agrees to open its doors to more Beninese products. It will also encourage Chinese investment in Benin as part of a co-investment platform dedicated to the construction of infrastructure in the fields of roads, electricity, communications technology, and textile production. Beijing will also work to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors, as well as in technical and vocational training to support Benin's industrialization process,” reads a joint statement issued at the end of Patrice Talon's four-day state visit.
Both partners have announced they have upgraded their bilateral ties to a "strategic partnership." Trade between the two countries is estimated at $1.95 billion in 2022, representing a 33.7% increase over 2021, according to the Chinese Embassy in Benin.
As a reminder, China has financed several infrastructure projects in Benin, including the Stade de l'Amitié, the Cotton Road, the Godomey interchange, and the Glo-Djigbé airport.