Benin lifts suspension of imported goods transiting to Niger

By Melissa Chemam with RFI
Benin  Prospoer Dagnitche  AFP
DEC 28, 2023 LISTEN
© Prospoer Dagnitche / AFP

Benin has lifted its suspension of imported goods transiting to Niger through the port of Cotonou in a move that follows five months of sanctions on the coup-hit country. 

The measure was taken "in view of the substantial improvement in the operational conditions for handling goods at the port of Cotonou" the port's director general Bart Van Eenoo said on Wednesday.

It comes almost a week after Benin President Patrice Talon called for relations to be swiftly re-established between his country and neighbouring Niger.


The West African regional bloc Ecowas had imposed sanctions on Niger following a coup on 26 July, which saw the military oust elected leader Mohamed Bazoum.

The measures have led to the closure of the border with Benin, which has seen a fall in revenues after the transport of goods to Niger via its ports was halted.

Goods for Niger represent 80 percent of the transit volume at the port of Cotonou.

Niger's economy remains one of the world's weakest, and since the coup and the sanctions, the country has been struggling.

"This does not mean that the Ecowas measures are lifted," the commercial and marketing director of the autonomous port of Cotonou, Kristof Van den Branden, told RFI.

"These are only measures for the operations of the port of Cotonou.”  

Both Benin and Niger are also concerned about a giant oil pipeline that will allow Niger to sell its crude on the international market for the first time, via the Benin port of Seme.

(with AFP)