Benin Customs and Port Procedures
Client: Millennium Challenge Account Benin
Year Completed: 2008

A major component of the MCC Country Compact, the Government of Benin has determined that a modernized customs service is critical to its ability to develop appropriate trade policy and to facilitate increases in trade. This is not an easy task: customs reform is a particularly sensitive activity, circumscribed by a highly politicized situation where many stakeholders hold varied and often conflicting interests.  
Aware of the sensitivity of bringing about change to institutions characterized by resistance to change, IBI fielded a seven-person all French-speaking on-site team, led by a Senior Customs and Trade Policy Expert, and largely composed of local IT, legal, and trade policy professionals. The team also included international technical specialists in customs and port IT, risk management, and scanning systems. Our team met with government, donor, and private sector stakeholders to ensure that new policies and procedures would reflect their priorities and concerns. The project revolved around development of an effective change management strategy intended to adapt international best practices to local culture and conditions and put the trade regime on a competitive footing.

Our team:

  • Evaluated all processes and procedures
  • Evaluated all legal and regulatory frameworks
  • Assessed payment management schemes
  • Assessed operations and costs
  • Assessed the one-stop-shop center
  • Studied the introduction of a container scanning system
  • Designed a new IT strategy
  • Developed a change management strategy
  • Compared the port of Cotonou with that of Tema in Ghana and of Dakar in Senegal.

This participatory consultative process has helped bridge the communication gap and conflicts of interest among the various stakeholders. We presented the findings and recommendations as a result of this Customs Efficiency Study at a multi-stakeholder workshop, including MCA Benin officials, high profile representatives from relevant government agencies, customs, and the port, as well as private sector actors. This final workshop represented a consensus-building initiative to forge mutually beneficial partnerships for the steps ahead.