Benin is a stable and peaceful country that has maintained more than two decades of democratic governance, with the 2016 presidential elections marking the sixth peaceful turnover of power since democracy was reestablished in the early 1990s. The country’s refurbished port, increased investments in infrastructure, and sustained economic growth rate of around 5 percent underscore Benin’s potential to move in the right direction. However, the country continues to face many of the same challenges related to the endemic poverty in the region.
Benin ranks 163 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index, and more than a third of the population lives in poverty with nearly half of all children under five years old are stunted due to malnutrition. Regional disparities also remain a challenge, as does worrying levels of corruption that impede the flow of services to citizens. USAID initiated its assistance programs to Benin in 1991 and has focused on strenghtening health, education, economic growth, and democratic governance.