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Benin, Groupement Bolloré Sign IFC-Structured Port Concession to Improve West African Trade Prospects


In Dakar:
Kimberlee A. Brown
Phone: +221 33 859 7126
E-mail: kbrown@ifc.org

In Washington, D.C.:
Shirley Geer
Phone: (703) 346-0914
E-mail: sgeer@ifc.org


Cotonou, Benin, September  10, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced  the signing of a 25-year concession agreement for the South Wharf Container Terminal between the government of Benin and the Groupement Bolloré that promises to increase trade between landlocked countries in West Africa and the rest of the world.

Groupement Bolloré, led by Bolloré Group of France, won the bid to invest in and manage the container handling concession for 25 years. IFC advised the government of Benin on the bidding process for the South Wharf Container Terminal concession at the port of Cotonou.

The terminal is intended to improve port performance and security, expand capacity, and cut costs. It is expected to significantly reduce delays at the port and help increase opportunities to develop external markets for the agriculture and fishing industries. In addition to Benin, the port will serve countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The concession further paves the way for Cotonou to become the second port of reference after Lagos so that it may benefit from growth in Nigeria.

Groupement Bolloré, composed of Bolloré Group and Société de Manutention du Terminal ŕ Conteneurs de Cotonou Groupement Bolloré, competed with a group of world-class operators that were prequalified to bid through a highly competitive and transparent selection process. The final selection criterion was based on the highest total amount of cumulative fees to be paid annually to the government for the first eight years of operations.

"Today's signing completes a bidding process that sets a high standard in efficiency and fairness for awarding this public-private partnership concession.  We look forward to continued high standards in the port's development that will encourage increased trade and government revenues for Benin," said Pascal Koupaki, Benin's minister of Prospective, Development, Evaluation of public policies and Coordination of the Governmental Action.

Groupement Bolloré’s proposal included a commitment to pay fees of $200 million over the first eight years of operations, and to invest $256 million in operating equipment and civil works over the life of the concession.

“Benin’s development will require increased trade and investment,” said Yolande Duhem, IFC Director for West and Central Africa.  “Today’s signing takes us a further step toward improved port and other infrastructure facilities will create new opportunities for this nation’s people and businesses.”

This port sector reform is also made possible with a $169 million grant from the United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation. The MCC funding allows for the construction of the quay wall behind which the container terminal will be constructed.

The transaction was completed in eight months, signaling the commitment of Benin, IFC, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. IFC advised the government with the support of DevCo, a multidonor affiliate program that incorporates the Private Infrastructure Development Group, supported by the U.K.’s Department for International Development; the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Swedish International Development Agency; and the Austrian Development Agency.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $15 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.