Benin’s Economic Growth to Accelerate on Cotton Output

Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Benin’s economic growth is expected to accelerate to 6 percent next year from 4 percent this year as the country boosts cotton production and opens cement and power plants and invests in its main port, President Thomas Boni Yayi said.

Cotton output will rise to between 550,000 and 600,000 metric tons in 2013 from 430,000 tons in 2012,the leader of the West African nation told lawmakers in Porto Novo today.

“Our goal is to reach in two years the level of cotton production in Burkina Faso, the largest producer of cotton in West Africa,” he said. Burkina Faso is expected to produce 1.05 million tons of cotton in the 2012-213 season, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Next year Benin will invest 35 billion CFA francs ($70 million) to boost the capacity of a submarine telecommunications cable, he said.

The 150 billion-CFA-franc Nocibe cement factory is expected to open in November while the 80 megawatt Maria-Gleta gas-fired power plant and a solar panel operation will also open during the year, he said. The government will also spend 150 billion CFA francs to build a new hospital and invest 20 billion CFA francs in the Cotonou port. Three new banks will be established, he said.