Country Summary

Macroeconomic performance

Real GDP growth was an estimated 6.0% in 2018, up from 5.4% in 2017, due to good performance in agriculture, especially cotton (with 5.6% growth); the industrial sector (6.7%), driven by cotton ginning plants (18%); and the building and public works sector (8.5%). The services sector grew by 7.5% because of dynamism in transport, post, and telecommunications (with 10.6% growth); banks and other financial institutions (9.5%); and trade and the food and hotel industries (6.9%). On the demand side, growth was driven mainly by final consumption (up by 3.6%). The trade deficit fell slightly to 8.3% of GDP from 9.1% in 2017.

The budget deficit (including grants) declined to an estimated 4.7% of GDP in 2018, from 5.9% in 2017, due to mobilizing revenue (1.2% of GDP) and reducing current expenditures. Domestic debt (60% of total public debt) was 30.9% of GDP, and the risk of debt distress went from low to moderate. Benin operates a common monetary policy established by the Central Bank of West African States. The inflation rate increased to an estimated 1.6% in 2018 from 0.1% in 2017.

Tailwinds and headwinds

Real GDP growth is projected to be 6.3% in 2019 and 6.8% in 2020. Growth in the raw materials extractive sector is projected to reach 5.7% in 2019, driven mainly by the cotton sector. Industrial growth is projected to expand by 13.3% in 2019, owing to building and public works (growing by 25%) and the electricity and water sectors, projected to grow 8% as the 120 MW Maria-Gléta power plant begins production. The budget deficit is projected to level off at 2.6% of GDP in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020. Total public debt is projected to fall to 53.3% of GDP in 2019 and 48.9% in 2020. Under the 2017–25 Strategic Plan for the Development of the Agricultural Sector and the 2017–21 National Plan for Agricultural Investments, Food, and Nutrition Safety, seven agricultural development poles were created in 2017. The strategy to promote several subsectors—maize, rice, cotton, cashew, cassava, and pineapple—is ongoing.

Business creation procedures have improved. Electricity sector reforms initiated in 2016 should improve governance and double installed capacity to 500 MW by 2021. The gross enrollment ratio was estimated at 124.82% in 2015, and implementing the 2018–21 National Policy of Education should improve the sector. In the fight against HIV/AIDS, progress is visible, with prevalence estimated at 1%.

Benin is a member of the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the West African Economic and Monetary Union. Benin is highly integrated with the regional market: 70% of its exports go to the ECOWAS zone (mainly Nigeria). However, regional trade opportunities have been reduced since 2015 due to economic reforms in Nigeria removing oil and gas sector subsidies and banning the re-export of rice, used cars, and used clothing. The port of Cotonou remains a transit corridor for hinterland countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. Benin is also integrated into the regional capital markets and is host to subsidiaries of regional banking groups. The free movement of people remains hampered by unofficial border barriers, which raise transaction costs. The main challenges for the country are diversifying exports and modernizing trading services and trade and transport services.

Economic growth prospects are good but remain vulnerable to external shocks, especially rainfall, global cotton and oil prices, and changes in Nigeria’s economic situation.

Source: African Economic Outlook 2019

Fixed Income

Issuance strategy 

Benin is one of the eight countries of The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).Bond issuance strategies vary from one state to another but most use the MTDS tool to develop their issuance strategy.

Benin’s public debt has been increasing rapidly since 2014. Total public debt (external plus domestic) increased from 30.5 percent in 2014 to 54.57 percent in 2018. The increase was primarily due to higher domestic debt driven by the scaling-up of public investment. At end-2018, about 80 percent of domestic liabilities consisted of government securities issued on the regional financial market . Benin issued its first Eurobond in March 2019, which is expected to change significantly the structure of the debt. The move from  domestic borrowing towards more market-based international is accompanied by the implementation of a number of reforms, including:

  • identifying and updating a targeted composition of debt (the share between domestic and external debt that strikes the right balance between costs and risks);
  • providing clear indication of future plans regarding foreign and domestic markets debt issuance to meet the targeted debt composition
  • better anticipating and planning for debt rollover and avoiding bunching of maturities establishing plans for active liability debt management (facilitated by the access to international markets);
  • nurturing an active investors relationship, including by strengthening public financial management and public debt transparency practices (e.g., publishing information on the composition of public debt in a timely manner).

With a continued fiscal consolidation and strong economic growth,the public debt ratio is expected to start declining from 2019.

Governements securities issuance programs are focused on  tenors from 3 months to 6-7 years and characterized by securities with repayments by amortization and deferred coupon as for the most o the WAEMU Countries.

Yield curve

As part of its market development activities, the UMOA Titres Agency has carried out a project to set up issuers' yield curves of the Public Securities Market of the UEMOA zone (MTP) with objective:

  • to improve transparency on the MTP
  •  to contribute to better price formation during the auctions
  • to make investors aware of the relationship between primary and secondary markets
  • to provide local / international investors with a reference of price for securities issued by the States

The conditions for  yield curves constructions  have not yet all been observed on the (MTP). It was thus retained:

  • in the short term, to develop a first version of yield  curves taking into account the specificities of the MTP, while being sufficient evolutionary to support its development;
  • in the medium / long term, define the necessary ways and means to Continuous improvement yield curves models following the evolution of the MTP.

Benin government securities yield curve extends to 10 years.

Yield curve calculation models 

The yield curve is constructed on the basis of primary market returns. The model used is the Nelson-Siegel Svensson .  

Interpolation methods 

Linear interpolation. 

Yield curve managed by

Agence UMOA-Titres is responsible for the yield curve. 

Display platform 

Agence UMOA-Titres website 

Challenges in building an efficient yield curve 

  • Fragmentation of the market

  • Narrow investor base: comprising homogeneous investors such as banks. 

  • Low liquid secondary market

Guide to Buying Bonds

Procedures for market participation

The primary subscription of Treasury bonds and bonds is reserved for credit institutions, management and intermediation companies (SGI) as well as regional financial institutions with a settlement account in the books of the Central Bank.

Other investors, natural or legal persons, irrespective of the State in which they are established, may also subscribe to Treasury bonds and bonds on the primary and secondary market through credit institutions and SGI. located in the territory of the Union.

Emissions on the primary market of the MTP (Marché des Titres Publics) are made by auction.Each issuance should be advertised at least 7 days before the auction by describing the issuance characteristics. Bidders submit to the Central Bank, sealed in a ballot box reserved for this purpose, a submission form specifying the amounts and the interest rates or the price offered. Submissions may also be made electronically in the conditions defined by the Central Bank.

Later than one hour after the deadline for bids submission, the National Directions of the BCEAO transmit electronically, by fax or any other means of rapid communication accepted by the Central Bank, the main submissions to the principal agency of the BCEAO, which is organizing the auction.

Treasury bills are eligible for refinancing by the Central Bank. Investors and the Central Bank may buy or sell Treasury bonds on the secondary market, awarded by private treaty. In this context, they are required to post the purchase price and sale, which they are willing to transact.

Bond issues can be done by  syndication  managed by CREPMF.[]

Treasury bonds can be traded on the secondary market. As such, they can be exchanged at the Regional Stock Exchange (BRVM) or outside the BRVM.

Settlement cycle

On the primary market by auction, the settlement date is T+1 of the issue date.On the secondary market, the payment of purchases of Treasury bonds and bonds by the primary subscribers is made by debiting their settlement account with the Central Bank on the value date of the issue of these securities. settlement date is the first business day following the conclusion of the transaction for domestic transactions and the third business day following the conclusion of the transaction for transactions between two (2) Member States. The Contracting Parties are free to agree on a term greater than these minima for the settlement of transactions, IF the instructions given by both parties are identical, the transaction is directly offset on the agreed value date. In the event of a discrepancy, the Central Bank suspends the transaction and notifies both parties of this decision for correction.


Treasury bills and Treasury bonds incomes are tax-free throughout the territory of the Member States of the WAEMU. But for non-members, the tax rates are different from one country to another. In Benin, the tax rate one securities income is equal to maximum 6%.


Rating agency Rating Outlook
Moody’s B Positive
Fitch B2 Positive
Standard and Poor’s B+ Stable

Primary Dealers

The securities market has a system of Specialists in Treasuries. The credit institutions and the SGIs  may be approved as SVT under the conditions specified by an Instruction of the Central Bank. As such, they must respect certain commitments that confer special advantages. These commitments and benefits are specified by an instruction from the Central Bank.

List of Primary Dealers


Avenue Jean-Paul II






Avenue Jean-Paul II, Immeuble SIB, 5ème étage



Avenue Steinmetz, 122 Parcelle ZA











Market restrictions

Openness to international investors

No restrictions prevent foreign investors from trading in the public securities market. They may subscribe to Treasury bonds and bonds on the primary and secondary markets through credit institutions and SGI located within the Union.

Capital controls

There are no significant limits on foreign investment nor are there generally differences in treatment of foreign and national investors, either in terms of the level of foreign ownership or sector of investment.

Restriction on FX and profit repatriation

WAEMU has unified foreign exchange regulations. Under these regulations, there are no restrictions for transfers within the community, and designated commercial banks are able to approve routine foreign exchange transactions inside the community. The transfer abroad of the proceeds of liquidation of foreign direct investments no longer requires prior governments approval.

Documents & Resources

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