BRIEF SUMMARY OF COOPERATION BETWEEN BENIN AND NORWAY
Benin and Norway have established and maintained diplomatic relations since 1960. Cooperation between the two countries has remained at an embryonic stage but has nevertheless resulted in some significant achievements.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF COOPERATION BETWEEN BENIN AND NORWAY
Since the establishment of cooperation between Benin and Norway, various economic and commercial actions have been taken by Norway for the benefit of Benin, the most salient of which are:
- debt forgiveness by the Kingdom of Norway in the SAGA PETROLEUM project;
- training of Beninese officials in maritime areas and oil research;
- the actions of Norwegian companies in the field of oil exploration in Benin
As a matter of fact, some companies with Norwegian capital are operating directly or indirectly in Benin in the oil industry and energy, such as Halliburton AS, ApplyRig And Moduls, Brunel Energy Europe, Professional Resources Limited, Scancem International, AS Norske Shell, etc.
Working visits by several delegations of the Government of Benin to Oslo in 2014, 2016 and 2017 to boost bilateral cooperation
- Visit of Mr. Aurélien Agbénonci, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, to the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) in Oslo on 26 May 2016. This is an Institute that contributes to food security, sustainable resource management, innovation and research in the food, forestry and other biological industries.
Two Beninese researchers have obtained their PhD at NIBIO and are teaching today in the Universities of Benin.
At the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, a NIBIO delegation led by Mrs May-Guri Sæthre also visited Benin from 14 to 17 November 2016, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Agricultural University of Porto-Novo.
Following that visit, NIBIO offered a PhD scholarship in April 2017 for training at the Institute during the academic year 2017-2018;
- On 27 and 28 April 2017, a government delegation led by Mr. Aurélien Agbénonci, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and including the Minister in charge of Energy, the Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development and the Special Adviser to the President of the Republic, had a meeting with the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Børge Brende, to restore Norwegian partners’ confidence, increase Norwegian private investment in Benin, and address issues of international concern such as the fight against terrorism and peace-building efforts in the West African subregion.
The two delegations also exchanged views on the situation of the oil platforms of Sèmè and the risks they cause to the marine environment. They recognized the need to dismantle those installations thanks to Norwegian technical assistance and to continue discussions on how to secure financial resources for this purpose.
Two Memorandums of Understanding have been signed with the Norwegian-African Business Association (NABA) and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), as part of the promotion of public-private partnership on the one hand, and the exchange of experience and capacity-building on strategic issues of international concern, in collaboration with the Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (IRIES) and the Peacekeeping Training Centre (CFOMP) in Cana, Benin, on the other hand;
- Participation of a Beninese delegation led by Mr Hervé Hehomey, Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, to the Norshipping 2017 Conference in Oslo from 30 May to 02 July 2017.
Expression of interest by Norwegian companies for investments in Benin
Several examples can be cited, namely:
- Jacobsen Elektro, which will be under contract with the Government of Benin to build and operate a 120 MW fuel-fired thermal power station in Maria-Gléta for 15 years at a competitive price;
- Panoro Energy ASA, already operating in Nigeria and interested in two oil wells in Benin previously operated by Sapetro;
- Høegh LNG, which intends to install a liquefied natural gas supply project for power plants.
Benin is one of 32 African partner countries of the EAF-Nansen Project which aims to support the implementation of an ecosystem approach to the management of marine fisheries. Supervised by FAO and funded by NORAD, the EAF-Nansen Project is coordinated in Benin by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and aims to improve the management of the beach seine fishery in the coastal waters of the participating countries.
Thus new foundations for cooperation are laid in order to foster economic relations between Benin and Norway as well as productive investments by Norwegian companies in Benin.
Copenhagen, 28 July 2017