Posted on Thursday, 12 July 2018 09:46
Coastal road upgrades, improvement of the beaches, a memorial trail on the Slave Route and more… The government has made tourism one of the strong points of the country’s development. Several international institutions, including the World Bank, are already funding some of the projects.
|The bulldozers have resumed their activity in the coastal districts of western Cotonou, where La Route des Pêches (the Fishing Route) starts. This sandy track that stretches for about 40 kilometres from Cotonou to Ouidah, between sea and mangrove, is going to be partially tarred “to promote tourism development and strengthen the national and regional economy”, as explained in the Government Action Programme (GAP).
La Route des Pêches is also the name given to an ambitious seaside development programme, launched a few years ago, for the construction of tens of thousands of hotel rooms and luxury residences, estimated at more than 1 trillion CFA francs. In light of this programme, the government began construction of the first phase of the road, the 12.5 km stretch between Cotonou and Adounko. These roadworks were made possible because of the BOAD (West African Development Bank) providing 12 billion CFA francs (€18 million) of the total cost of 13.6 billion CFA francs (€20.4 million).
Hotel groups express interest
As part of the GAP, four kilometres of submerged dikes will be built in the Avlékété district in Ouidah, to disperse the waves and make the sea safer for swimming. Hotels and lodges will be built on this part of the coast. Several hotel chains have expressed their interest in building hotel and tourist complexes.
Ouidah, a historical city worth visiting
The Portuguese and French forts of the old town will have to be rebuilt and the services improved (bus station, handicrafts village, walkways, etc.). The project includes building a replica of a slave ship which will be anchored off the coast of Ouidah. Out of the seven tourism projects included in the GAP, this one, at an estimated $300 million, is the most costly and is being financed by the World Bank.
Seven major tourism projects
The Government Action Programme (GAP) provides for seven major tourism projects. Besides the Ouidah and Atlantic Coast developments, the other five are:
➡ Pendjari National Park
➡ Ganvié lakeside town
➡ Abomey-Agongointo Cultural Centre
➡ Toussaint Louverture Slave Museum in Allada
➡ Porto Novo International Museum of Voodoo/Orisha Arts and Civilisations
All seven of these projects will be developed through public-private partnership
From the June 2018 supplement to The Africa Report, INVESTING BENIN