(At the expense of access to safe drinking water for all)
President Patrice Talon and his government promised to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, “Clean Water and Sanitation,” ahead of schedule. They work on it and keep moving forward a little more every day. On a two-day working visit to Holland, the Beninese government secured new funding for this purpose.
On the way to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, Benin is convincing day by day. The working visit of the President of the Republic Patrice Talon accompanied by the Minister of State, Minister of Economy and Finance, Romuald Wadagni and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Aurélien Agbénonci gave proof of this. Significant financial commitment agreementswere signed by the Minister of State with Joor ORTHUIZEN CEO of Invest International for three projects all aimed at accelerating the achievement of the SDGs. The said agreements cover a total amount of 180 million Euros or more than 118 billion FCFA (118,072,260,000 FCFA). The first project concerns the strengthening of the drinking water supply system in six communes in northern Benin: Karimama, Cobly, Gogounou, Copargo, Toucountouna and Natitingou. The aim will be to set up new drinking water supply infrastructures precisely in Karimama, Cobly and Gogounou and then to strengthen the existing infrastructure in the other three cities, Natitingou, Toucountouna and Copargo. The second project is the development of the Cotonou Artisanal Fishing Port. The third is the development and rehabilitation of Lake Nokoué and the Porto-Novo Lagoon for the development of aquaculture and fishing activities. Already, in the Council of Ministers on 15 April 2020, the government has shown its willingness to clean up and rehabilitate the Ahémé, Nokoué lakes, the lagoon of Porto-Novo and their channels. With this in mind, a series of initiatives had been announced, namely:the release of uncontrolled habitats and the clearance of rubbish piles from the right-of-way (bank and water) of Lake Nokoué and the Cotonou Channel; the completion of a feasibility study on the dredging of Lake Nokoué and the lagoon of Porto-Novo; the creation, equipment and training of the Special Fisheries Monitoring Unit; the rehabilitation of mandatory control bases and transfer platforms on Lake Ahémé, as part of the revival of the shrimp industry; the reorganization of sedentary fisheries on Lake Nokoué and the lagoon of Porto-Novo with the determination of biological reserves and the reforestation of banks, watersheds and other liberated areas. Ultimately, the Government intends to halt the degradation of these bodies of water and this funding is timely to accelerate the work underway and reinforce the many initiatives taken to date to achieve the goal. In this ambition, SDGs 14 and 15 are also targeted. Finally, the development project of the Artisanal Fishing Port of Cotonou which includes a relocation of the Fishing Port, will promote a fluidity of activities of the Autonomous Port of Cotonou for more profitability. It provides for a nautical service area with modern infrastructures for the port’s towing and pilotage service, an area dedicated to the national navy and a shipyard; an area dedicated to the development of activities related to artisanal and semi-industrial fishing with, among other things, unloading docks, shelter areas for boats, an inclined plan for the setting up of canoes, workshops for repairing nets and engines etc., but also an entire circuit for the sale of fishery products by ensuring effective health and statistical monitoring and an area for the marketing and processing of fishery products is also included in the project.
African Development Fund, a guarantee for Benin
In its quest for financing to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs, Benin can count on the support of major financial partners, including the African Development Fund of the African Development Bank. As recently as 30 September 2022, this Fund granted a partial credit guarantee to Benin in support of efforts to mobilise financing for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Thanks to the partial guarantee from the Fund, Benin will be able to mobilise more funding in foreign currencies that can be used exclusively for expenditure eligible for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular agriculture and agro-industry, water and sanitation, health, decent and low-cost housing, education, renewable energy, etc., at longer maturities.
“This instrument will allow Benin to increase its credit and catalyse the financing of international institutional investors,” explained Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, Acting Vice-President of the African Development Bank Group in charge of Regional Development, Integration and Service Delivery. The country has convinced of its experience in this area since 2021, when the first in Africa, it issued a euro bond or SDG bonds, in line with international best practices and raised 628 billion at maturity 14 years, or 2035, historic and memorable, coming from an African country that is also without great resources. According to the Minister of State, Minister of Economy and Finance of Benin, Romuald Wadagni, “this unique operation testifies once again to Benin’s capacity for financial innovation, which will soon become the first country to use a unique combination of credit enhancement for SDG financing”. According to him, “the operation is in line with our financing strategy, which gives a central place to development with environmental and social impact. We encourage the spread of this type of innovative structure on the continent, in order to encourage the financing of sustainable projects on favourable terms, especially in the context of the current degraded market. I extend my thanks to the teams of the African Development Bank for their support and involvement throughout this process, “added the Minister of State. This partial guarantee of credit from the African Development Fund, it should be notified, will be based on the principles of the SDG Framework Document in this case, the principles of use of resources, selection of projects, and evaluation. On the occasion of the validation of the principles of agreement with the African Guarantee Fund, acting vice-president of the African Development Bank Group, Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade welcomed the double advantage offered by this guarantee of the Fund in Benin. “We welcome the approval of this project, which offers Benin the dual advantage of mobilising resources in line with its priorities based on the Sustainable Development Goals and optimising its funding conditions,” she noted. It should be recalled that Benin is making many efforts to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs, even before the deadline specifically with regard to access to drinking water for all.