Populated by 9.1 million inhabitants, Benin ranks 167th out of 187 countries on the 2011 UNDP Human Development Index (HDI). The country’s economy rests primarily on agriculture, trade and the transit of goods through the Autonomous Port of Cotonou.
Benin’s inhabitants are generally very young, which is a growing concern for both government and civil society actors. With 44.7% of its population falling under the age of 15, the country is preparing for the massive entry of young people onto the job market by 2025.
A recent national survey of household living conditions showed an increase in the poverty rate, from 28.5% in 2002, to 39% in 2010, meaning that more than one in three Beninese lives below the poverty line.
A significant number of Beninese women work in the small business sector. However, this does not necessarily translate into fair recognition of their work or in fair pay, as evidenced by the predominance of women working in the informal sector.
Oxfam in Benin
Active in Benin since 1985, we work to support and strengthen the country’s national structures. In supporting our civil society partners, we focus specifically on women and youth. Together, we work to end inequalities between men and women, and to enable young people to play an active and responsible role in their country’s social, economic and cultural life. Our priorities:
- Promote economic development and food security by supporting entrepreneurship, job market integration and sustainable agricultural development (e.g. professional training, small businesses, climate change adaptation).
- Empower women and girls through, for instance, combating gender-based violence and promoting women’s access to land.
- Transform power relations and change behavior, for instance, by advocating more effectively with state and civil society actors.
- Improve people’s living and health conditions by strengthening access to water, sanitation and hygiene and promoting a healthy environment (e.g. behavioural changes, waste management, natural disaster prevention and management).