Benin - Industry



Benin's industrial sector accounted for about 14% of GDP in 2001, centering primarily on construction materials, chemical production, textiles, and the processing of agricultural products. Enterprises such as the Onigbolo cement factory and the Savé sugar refinery have characterized Benin's industrial sector. Production of crude steel ceased in 1993, while production of crude oil tapered off from 8,000 barrels per day during the 1980s, to 5,000 barrels per day during the 1990s. The Sémé oil field near Cotonou was shut down in 1998, but there were plans to redevelop it. The Sémé gas reserves total 80 billion cubic feet. Refined petroleum is imported from neighboring Nigeria. Benin is one of the countries involved in the planned $500 million, 620 km (385 mile) West African natural gas pipeline to run from Nigeria to Côte d'Ivoire. Gas delivery from the pipeline is expected to begin in 2005. A textile factory at Parakout was revitalized with financing from the West African Development Bank. Benin's industrial electricity needs are met by hydroelectric power from Akosombo dam in Ghana and the Nangbeto dam on the Mono River in Togo. The Société Beninoise d'Electricité et d'Eau (SBEE) controls most electrical production within Benin (which is minimal), and the Communauté Electrique du Benin (CEB) imports the electricity from Ghana through Togo.

Together with other countries belonging to the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Benin adopted the common external tariff in 2000, which was designed to encourage domestic production. Sonapra is the state-owned cotton enterprise, and revenues from the cotton sector are substantial. There are no plans to privatize Sonapra. The state-owned oil company, Sonacop, was privatized in 1999. Cement, textile, tobacco, and public transportation enterprises have been privatized in recent years, in addition to breweries.

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