- Benin was strongly affected by the global economic slow-down last year. Economic growth was halved from 2008 to 2009, new statistics show.
According to figures released by the government of Benin and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global economic crisis had a negative impact on Benin in 2009.
"Real GDP growth slowed to 2.7 percent, compared with 5.0 percent in 2008," IMF official Joannes Mongardini said in Cotonou today, after having been given an overview of developments in Benin by Finance Minister Idriss Daouda and other government officials.
Also government revenues had stagnated, mostly because of lower trade activity. Developments, including a 24 percent increase in state employees' salaries, had widened the overall fiscal deficit to 7.0 percent of GDP.
On the external sector, Benin's cotton exports had declined significantly reflecting lower international prices and workers' remittances fell. As a result, the current account deficit, excluding grants, widened to 9.3 percent of GDP, compared with 7.0 percent in 2008.
"In view of the continued impact of the global economic crisis on Benin," the IMF noted that "the maintenance of macroeconomic stability required a prudent fiscal policy in 2010." Government was in particular urged not to accept large increases in the wage bill in 2010.
No forecasts for development in 2010 were made, as Beninese authorities still are defining reforms and economic programmes for this year. Government nevertheless hopes to return to growth rates comparable to 2008 already this year.
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