Cotonou - BeninExport trade from Ghana to Benin has been on the increase since 2009. Export trade figures between 2009 and from 2013 are as follows:

  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Exports from Ghana 27.228 21.531 35.357 38.670 98.355

Market Overview 

  • Benin has a stable democracy and a small domestic market. The country's key economic indicators for 2013 were as follows: estimated GDP (PPP): $16.65 billion; estimated Real GDP growth rate for 2013: 5 %; Per capita GDP: $1,600, Inflation rate: 2.6 %. Benin’s GDP is roughly 71 percent services, 21 percent agriculture, and 8 percent manufacturing. Cotton production was 240,000 metric tons in 2012/2013. Port customs revenue accounts for 85 of the country’s customs revenue: $770 million in 2013; $667 million in 2012; and $548 million in 2011. The inflation rate was 1 percent in 2013.
  • In 2013 Benin's exports amounted to $1.108 billion. In 2013 Benin imported $1.835 billion worth of goods including foodstuffs, tobacco, petroleum products, energy products, capital goods, and used cars. Benin's major trade partners include Nigeria, France, China, Italy, Brazil, Indonesia, U.K., and Cote d'Ivoire. 
  • Currently, the value of official trade between Benin and Ghana is small, but interest in Ghanaian products is growing. The trade balance is in favour of Ghana, with Ghanaian exports amounting to US$98.355 million in 2013; representing a component of the ECOWAS market share of 34.83 per cent for Non-Traditional Exports.


Market Challenges 

  • Benin's official language is French, and English is not spoken widely. Ghanaian companies seeking to do business in Benin will probably need to hire a translator and/or Interpreter for assistance. 
  • Recourse to the judicial system to resolve civil disputes is extremely time-consuming and resolution of judicial disputes is slow. Corruption and the slow pace of bureaucratic processes are also a challenge. 
  • The biggest challenge facing many Ghanaian businesses exporting to Benin is the difficulty in finding capable agents or distributor to consolidate exports in Benin, wholesale and to push the products down a dedicated distribution channel. 
  • Businesses should be particularly cautious about unknown Beninese "companies" promising them big business deals. Unfortunately, a number of perpetrators of sophisticated internet scams use Benin as a base to defraud companies and citizens with "419" scams (e.g. advance fees), so named for the relevant section of Nigerian law. Potential Ghanaian investors and exporters can contact the Economic Section of the Embassy of Ghana, Cotonou to verify the bonafides of their proposed business partners in Benin. 

Market Opportunities 

  • Despite its small market size, Benin may be used, with its fairly efficient port, as a re-exporting country for its landlocked neighboring countries and for Nigeria which has a market of 150 million consumers. 
  • Ghanaian companies could have success in exporting veneers, aluminum household products, cosmetics and toiletries, cotton industry equipment, and medical equipment.
  • The best prospects for major projects are fields of infrastructure (road, airport, port and rail way construction), housing, telecommunications, tourism, and the energy production.

Leading Sectors for Ghanaian Export

The following were the nine leading Ghanaian export products in 2013 for non-traditional exports:

Product Weight:
Veneer 293,000 38,437,546
Articles of plastics nes 9,145,374 25,391,666
Palm oil, crude 5,403,849 4,503,948
Cotton fabrics (grey baft) 261,311 4,228,230
Aluminium household utensils 1,133,457 3,634,487
Paints and varnishes 3,846,064 3,525,829
Vegetable oil nes 2,330,112 2,791,559
Iron/Steel circles, rods, sheets, billets 2,986,465 2,223,274
Machinery and parts nes 171,411 2,099,386

Emerging Opportunities

New growth markets for the following products need to be carefully nurtured:

  • Makeup/skin care 
  • Pharmaceuticals 
  • Cocoa Confectionery
  • Sweet biscuits
  • Ball Point Pens
  • Chocolate
  • Fruit Juice
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Mineral water
  • Service products, including Ghana Music CDs and DVDs with French subtitles or translation
  • Cultural and entertainment programmes
  • Sports