Start Industry in Benin
Benin's industrial sector accounted for 13.6% of GDP in 2005. Industrial activity centers primarily on construction materials, chemical production, textiles, and the processing of agricultural products. Enterprises such as the Onigbolo cement factory and the Savé sugar refinery have characterized Benin's industrial sector.
Production of crude steel ceased in 1993. Production of crude oil began in 1982 but ceased in the 1990s. The Sémé oil field near Cotonou was shut down in 1998, but there were plans to redevelop it. Exploration of oil is ongoing. Benin imports refined petroleum from Nigeria, and is involved in a planned $500 million West African natural gas pipeline that will run 385 miles between Nigeria and Côte d'Ivoire. Gas delivery from the pipeline was expected to begin in 2005. Although work began at the pipeline's final terminus in late 2005, political questions about multinational oil companies' roles in the project have raised new concerns.
A textile factory at Parakout was revitalized with financing from the West African Development Bank. Benin's industrial electricity needs are met by hydroelectric power from Akosombo dam in Ghana and the Nangbeto dam on the Mono River in Togo. The Société Beninoise d'Electricité et d'Eau (SBEE) controls most electrical production within Benin (which is minimal), and the Communauté Electrique du Benin (CEB) imports the electricity from Ghana through Togo.
Together with other countries belonging to the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Benin adopted the common external tariff in 2000, which was designed to encourage domestic production. Revenues from the cotton sector are substantial, comprising 90% of Benin's foreign currency earnings.
Although the cotton industry remains state-owned, Benin has privatized its cement, textile, tobacco, and public transportation enterprises in recent years, in addition to breweries. Efforts to privatize SONAPRA, Benin's state-owned cotton enterprise, were scheduled to be completed in mid-2004. However, delays have prevented that from occurring.