On Thursday, February 8, 2018, the Embassy of Benin in Copenhagen and the Danish company BWSC celebrated the start of the Maria-Gléta 2 Project in Benin. The project aims at the construction by BWSC of thermal power plants in Benin to upgrade local energy production capacity and to meet national needs. BWSC won the contract following a call for tenders.
Please find below the press release regarding the event:
Benin is open for business
The West African country of Benin is on the offensive in the hope of attracting Danish and Scandinavian investments. Among the first to respond has been BWSC, which signed a contract in December 2017 to expand Benin’s power supply with a 120 MW power plant in the outskirts of the country’s largest city Cotonou.
BWSC has broken ground on the construction site, and the occasion was marked at the Benin embassy in Copenhagen with a presentation of the project and subsequent reception in the presence of, among others, ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives from several African countries and the Baltic States, representatives of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IFU, EKF and DI, as well as representatives of BWSC’s top management.
“We are working hard to interest Danish business in the opportunities in Benin,” says Ambassador Eusèbe Agbangla. “We have earmarked three sectors which could provide golden opportunities for Danish investments. The energy sector is the most important. It is the beginning and the end of all our development – and we are pleased to have successfully entered into an agreement with BWSC.”
Ambassador Agbangla also highlights the agricultural and fisheries sector as obvious investment areas. “Denmark has proud traditions and vast knowledge in this sector – and Benin offers many interesting and profitable business opportunities in those fields.”
“The same goes for tourism,” he continues. “We want to promote all the interesting experiences that await tourists in our country. And we plan to engage in dialogue with Danish tour operators to investigate the possibilities for further cooperation.”
With open arms
Benin is one of the most stable democracies in Africa, and in recent years, the country has launched a series of initiatives to create the ideal platform for development and foreign investment.
The country has established a strong judicial system, including focusing on fighting corruption and cyber crime. There is also a solid legal basis for IPP cooperation. Financial and administrative formalities have been improved through the establishment of so-called economic zones, for example, with favourable tariff conditions.
Labour legislation is flexible in line with the Danish, and recently, the Benin government has defined 45 special projects within 9 sectors which will support the positive development of the country’s economy in the coming years. Energy, agriculture and fisheries as well as tourism are some of the key sectors. But there is also a new airport on its way, and Benin has ambitions to be at the forefront of digital development inspired by Estonia.
“Our biggest challenge right now is that most Danish companies and investors do not know the potential in Benin,” says Ambassador Agbangla. “Therefore, it is our task to spread the message and try to raise interest and awareness. There must be no doubt that we are ready to do business, we are committed, and Danish investors will be received with open arms.”
And recent facts back up the ambassador’s promises, because the contract with BWSC came to fruition in about half the time of what it usually takes for BWSC to negotiate similar projects.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed the commitment and desire we have met both with the authorities in Benin and at the embassy in Copenhagen,” says BWSC CEO Anders Heine Jensen. “We are used to operating all over the world and often in very difficult circumstances, but doing business with our new partners from Benin have been a joy. We look forward to completing this project and hopefully doing more business in Benin.”