Country Report Benin April 2008

The domestic economy: Policy changes are announced to offset food price inflation

The government has begun to take steps to mitigate the impact of mounting food price inflation that is common throughout West Africa. In January 2008 the Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine (UEMOA) recorded year-on-year regional food price inflation of 7.3%. To lessen the impact of increasing prices the Beninese government disbursed CFAfr480m (US$1.1m) to the Office national d'appui à la sécurité alimentaire (ONASA; the national office charged with safeguarding food supplies), for the purchase of buffer stocks of key food products. In early January the government also announced the reduction of import duty on important staples such as rice, milk, sugar and flour. In total, nine products are covered, costing the state an estimated CFAfr12bn in lost revenue. On January 8th the government also announced the funding of CFAfr6.25bn for the Programme d'urgence d'appui à la sécurité alimentaire (Emergency programme for food security support), which will employ 1,800 agricultural professionals to help farmers increase the national production of staple agricultural goods, especially rice and maize.

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