Benin in Sub-Saharan Africa: Living below Poverty Line

Topics: Poverty, Water, Water resources Pages: 5 (2061 words) Published: April 4, 2013
Benin is a country found in Sub-Saharan Africa more commonly known as (SSA). According to the CIA as of a report published in year 2007, 37% of Benin’s population lived below the poverty line. This indicates that nearly half of the inhabitants of Benin live below the dollar-a-day poverty line. The poverty line is established in regards to the understanding that it takes at least a dollar to provide the minimum standard of living for individuals on a day to day basis. Benin’s main source of income is agriculture. Cotton is at the forefront of Benin’s economic income making up 40% of total GDP. This provides a problem because of a decrease in the cost of cotton over the years, due to subsidied cotton production in other countries around the world. Subsistence farming also plays a major part in cotton farming troubles. Because over half of Benin’s population practices subsistence farming, many of the natural land and resources are used up. Other exports in Benin consist of crude oil, palm oil, cocoa and seafood. The other 60% of GDP is made up through services, and industry accounting for 15 and 52 percents respectively. While over the years Benin has witnessed great strides toward it’s goal of ending poverty, it still holds the the title of an LIC or Low Income Country..The worldwide recession in 2009 played a large role in hindering the economies advances. Before 2009 Benin’s growth rate was at 4% but dropped to a mere 2.7%. 2010 saw Benin rebound but not by much at 3%. Benin has been working to establish a sound economy focusing more attention on tourism, investment from foreign countries, improvements to food processing and technological advancements. A few factors that are hurting Benin’s chances at economic recovery are a poor infrastructure,corruption, the existence of a weak industry, lack of a competitive trade market and environmental disasters. Poor Infrastructure

In a report by Carolina Domínguez-Torres and Vivien Foster, it was noted that in order for Benin to decrease poverty levels by a substantial amount, a growth rate of 7% would have to achieved. The years 2002 through 2006 saw a 1.6% decrease in the growth rate when compared to that of the years of 1997 through 2001. Benin’s infrastructure contributed to Benin’s prevalence as the highest growth rate during the early 2000 years when the countries rate was at 1.6 percentage points. Research shows that if Benin can increase the overall value of their infrastructure to the levels of their middle-income counterparts then the rate of change could possibly reach +3.2% per capita. The largest difficulty observed with infrastructure was telecommunications. In terms of economic development Benin is split into two areas, the urban South and the rural North. The Northern region of Benin has only one rainy season. This makes it a liability in the agricultural realm. Because of metallic minerals that the Northern region produces, it brings a sense of optimism to the land. Poor transportation infrastructure takes away and hinders any benefits that the people of Benin could get from these valuable resources. Development of infrastructure in Benin is contingent upon a number of things, namely population and trade. This fact shows why Benin is more heavily impoverished in the North while the more populous Southern region is a little better off. Nigeria is Benin’s closest and most heavily utilized trade partner. Nigeria accounts for over 7.5% of Benin’s GDP although the global recession in 2009 dropped growth to 2.9%. Lately Benin’s growth has been rising rapidly. This is due in part to a positive increase in agricultural production which increased activity at Benin’s port of Cotonou (Benin’s main trading port) and high demand of product from the neighboring Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Benin’s road system is 15,700km with two paved interstate corridors. There are also five east west corridors that link Nigeria, Benin and Togo. Because Benin lacks...
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