Highlights: President Ram Nath Kovind Visit to Benin
President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in Benin at Cardinal Bernadine de Cotonou International Airport in Cotonou, the largest city in the West African country. This visit is part of first leg of his 3 nations’ tour to West African region which includes Gambia and Guinea from July 28 to August 3. This is first visit by either a head of state or head of government to three West African countries.
This is the 23rd country to be visited by President Kovind during his Presidential tenure till now.
President Kovind held talks with his Beninese counterpart Patrice Talon. He also traveled to Porto Novo, the seat of Beninese Parliament.
In a special honour extended to India by Benin, President Kovind addressed National Assembly in Benin.
He also met members of Indian community at a reception hosted in his honour in Cotonou.
Significance: The visit is expected to reinvigorate and give new direction to India’s ties with three countries.
Transformative growth of India and natural strengths of Benin complement each other.
In last 10 years, India-Benin bilateral trade has risen from $350 million over $800 million thus India has become Benin’s largest trading partner.
India’s duty free tariff preference scheme has helped Benin’s exports grow by more than 68% in 2018 to reach $376 million.
Various MoUs and Agreements were signed during President Kovind’s visit include-
India offered $100 million line of credit to Benin for its development projects.
India offered further training assistance to Benin to expand its anti-piracy capacity.
Both countries agreed to work together to combat climate change through International Solar Alliance.
Both countries showed commitment towards taking development partnership forward by signing of country agreement for Benin to avail various initiatives by India such as tele-medicine initiative– e-Arogyabharati and tele-education programme– e-Vidyabharati.
India also extended free tele-education courses to over 15,000 Beninese students and tele-medicine courses to 1,000 doctors and paramedics in Africa.