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On Thursday 8 December 2016 during his working visit to Brussels, Mr Patrice Talon, President of the Republic of Benin, chaired the signing ceremony between the Republic of Benin and the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a financing agreement for the development and modernisation of the drinking water supply system of the city of Cotonou.

The EUR 30m finance contract was signed by Mr Romuald Wadagni, Benin’s Minister for the Economy and Finance, and Mr Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President. This loan forms part of the EU's priority action to deploy and modernise basic infrastructure that can help improve the daily lives of the local population. This is the EIB's second financing operation in this sector after the one granted (EUR 13m) in 2007 and completed in 2015. The European Union is also contributing to the project's financing via a grant of EUR 6m.

“Giving the people of Benin access to drinking water throughout the whole country is one of my Government’s priorities and I am delighted that the EIB is available to support us in achieving this goal. I wish to be able to deepen further the partnership between Benin and the EIB so that my Government's priority projects can be carried out, so aiding the long-term economic and social development of my country”, said the President of the Republic of Benin at the signing ceremony.

“This is a very important loan that will have a major social impact on the local population”, remarked the EIB Vice-President during the signing ceremony. “Thanks to this loan, a number of districts extending as far as the suburbs of Cotonou will benefit from a high-quality drinking water distribution and sanitation service, which will help to improve the daily lives of the people living in these parts of Benin. We are very happy to finance such a project, which illustrates the priority we are according to sustainable development."

This is an important project for Benin, the key aspect being access to drinking water for 600 000 people in Cotonou. It will specifically serve to enhance and upgrade the drinking water supply system of urban and suburban Cotonou in order to satisfy the population’s growing needs until 2025. It will help to create a suitable, high-quality sanitation service including, in particular, the installation of a faecal sludge treatment plant.

The project will also be implemented with parallel co-financing by KfW and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

On the strength of the partnership of trust connecting the EIB and Benin, the Bank has financed projects that are important for the country’s economic and social development in the sectors of water, energy and support for businesses to the tune of a total of EUR 138m.