Benin’s President Criticizes Niger’s Decision on Oil Export Route

Benin's President Criticizes Niger
Patrice Talon

Benin’s President Criticizes Niger: Displeased with Niger’s unwillingness to use its port for oil exports, Benin’s president Patrice Talon expressed his displeasure two weeks after the first flow of Nigerien oil at Sémè Kraké in Benin.

President Talon expressed his dissatisfaction at what he sees as a squandered chance for cooperation between the two neighboring nations in a statement made on Wednesday, May 8th. He attributed Niger’s reluctance to a matter of logic.

Diplomatic tensions between Benin and Niger arose after the latter country’s coup in July of last year. Benin is a member of ECOWAS. In reaction to the coup, ECOWAS had threatened military action, but that plan never came to fruition.

Retaliating against ECOWAS sanctions, Niger sealed its border with Benin, cutting off trade and putting economic pressure on both countries. But over time, Benin’s capital, Porto-Novo, softened its attitude toward its neighbor and reopened the border.

President Talon bemoaned the negative impact of the border closure on the Beninian economy, highlighting how the illicit commerce sector flourished during this period. By tying the reopening of the port of Sémè to the revival of official cooperation, he stressed the significance of mending trade connections between the two nations.

By linking Niger’s Koulele to Benin’s port of Seme, the pipeline project has the potential to greatly increase Niger’s oil production, positioning the country to become a major player in the regional oil market. Current daily oil production in Niger is at 20,000 barrels, with most of that coming from developments in the Agadem Rift Basin run by the China National Petroleum Corporation.

The words made by President Talon bring attention to the interconnectedness of neighboring West African nations and the difficulties of regional diplomacy and economic cooperation. The need of encouraging positive communication and cooperation is critical for long-term economic growth and peace in the region, especially as both nations face the possibilities and threats posed by the expanding oil sector.

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