Credit: ffikretow/iStock by Getty images

Supporting Benin's Reforms of Governance and Anti-Corruption

At the request of the Beninese authorities, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conducted a Governance Diagnostic Assessment of Benin in 2022. The review helped identify corruption vulnerabilities that may hamper the country’s development agenda and proposed recommendations to address these weaknesses.[1]

The review addressed state functions that are most relevant to economic development and are covered in the 2018 IMF Framework for Enhanced Engagement on Governance (fiscal governance, financial sector oversight, market regulation and the rule of law, as well as Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism – AML/CFT). Central bank governance and operations were not covered since Benin is part of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, UEMOA.

The government strongly supported the assessment. After his re-election in 2021, the President of the Republic has made improving governance the first axis of the Government Action Plan 2021-2026, in keeping with efforts already undertaken since 2016.

The IMF team found out that Benin had made substantial progress in improving governance over the last few years in several areas. With respect to public financial management, the transition to program budgeting in accordance with the WAEMU directives has been successful and underpinned by a fully integrated financial management information system. Fiscal transparency has progressed, as attested by Benin’s rank as second-best performer in Africa on the “Transparency” indicator of the 2021 Open Budget Survey (with a score of 65, second only to South Africa with 86). Benin is a trailblazer in Francophone Africa in the implementation of internal control and internal audit reforms. A Court of Auditors has been created and is being operationalized. The public procurement legal framework has benefited from a thorough overhaul. Achievements in the field of tax policy include better governance of tax expenditures. An updated legal framework and the adoption of an action plan to reinforce the fight against money laundering constitute significant advances in the field of AML-CFT. The rule of law has been strengthened through improvements in the accessibility of legislation, the creation of a commercial justice system and the development of e-procedures.

However, there is still scope for (i) further improving the legal and institutional anti-corruption framework; (ii) strengthening transparency in crucially important areas such as disciplinary powers and the appointment of magistrates; and (iii) strengthening capacity and analytical tools in some areas.

The recommendations in the IMF’s governance assessment of Benin covered a wide spectrum. For example, the report proposed measures to combat the perception of interference in the judicial system and of alleged corruption among certain judges, through greater transparency regarding the promotion of judges and the sanctions imposed upon them for corrupt acts.

The IMF team also made far-reaching recommendations to improve the legal and institutional anti-corruption framework. First of all, publication of rulings and statistics by Benin’s Court for the Repression of Economic and Terrorism Crimes (CRIET), created in 2018, would strengthen the court’s authority and legitimacy. The operationalization of the High Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (HCPC), created by a 2020 law, will be an important milestone, which remains to be carried out. Lastly, significant improvements in the country’s anti-corruption legal framework are necessary to ensure (i) sufficient protection for whistleblowers, (ii) an adequate legal regime covering conflicts of interest, and (iii) an asset declarations framework, including an effective filing obligation for senior officials beyond the existing constitutional obligation applicable only to a very limited number of high-level politicians (the President and Members of the Government).

The governance assessment report was published in February 2023 on the Ministry of Finance’s website and is also available on the IMF’s website (in French and in English). Since the end of the mission in September 2022, follow-up discussions and capacity development activities have taken place, and the authorities intend to use the recommendations of the report as a source of inspiration for their own national action plan and to update their commitments within the ongoing IMF Extended Fund Facility and the Extended Credit Facility program. Consequently, governance-related commitments on strengthening the anti-corruption framework and reinforcing the rule of law have already been included in this program following the second review of the IMF program in May 2023.


[1] The assessment team included representatives of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs, Legal and Monetary and Capital Markets Departments. The assessment was delivered in a blended way – first a remote mission in June 2022, then a two-week field mission in September 2022.