Benin Sustainable Development Report 2023

Jul 14, 2023

Strengthening Human Capital and Reducing Inequalities

The Benin Sustainable Development Report 2023 marks the second edition of monitoring the performance and trends of the SDGs in Benin, as well as the policies aimed at achieving them. In a context of multiple crises, including COVID-19, geopolitical instabilities, and climate change, the world faces challenges in progressing towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Sachs et al., 2023). Despite these challenges, Benin is committed to conti...


Toure, S., Fuller, G., De la Mothe Karoubi, E., Lafortune, G. (2023). Benin Sustainable Development Report 2023 : Strengthening Human Capital and Reducing Inequalities. Paris: Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

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The “Benin Sustainable Development Report 2023” is the second in a series of reports produced as part of the partnership between the Government of Benin and the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) (box 1).

This edition was prepared by the SDSN’s newly created SDG Transformation Centre. This report aims to present the performance and trends of the SDGs in Benin, as well as an analysis of its policies to achieve them through the “Six Transformations” framework (Sachs et al. 2019). In a poly-crisis context (consequences of COVID-19, geopolitical instabilities and climate change) where the world is no longer making progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Sachs et al. 2023), Benin faces the challenge of pursuing its economic and social development while ensuring that no one is left behind.

Benin is giving priority to developing human capital and reducing inequalities in its pursuit of the SDGs, with 45.6 percent of its national budget and 49.8 percent of the SDG Eurobond expenditure dedicated to social spending (section 2.2).

This edition therefore focuses its analysis of the “Six Transformations” on transformation 1 (education, gender and inequalities) and transformation 2 (health, well-being and demography), which aim to improve human capital and reduce socio-economic and gender inequalities.

The report shows the following performance and trends for the SDGs:

  • Benin is halfway to achieving the SDGs with a score of 54.4 out of 100, above the population-weighted average for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), across all 17 SDGs.
  • Benin is achieving SDGs 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 13 (Climate Action).
  • Although major challenges remain to achieving most of the SDGs in the sub-region, Benin is making moderate progress on SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production).
  • At the current pace of progress, and although challenges remain, Benin is well on the way to achieving SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities) by 2030.
  • In Benin, the decreasing trends in SDG 7 (Clean and Affordable Energy) and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) should be monitored.

At the sub-national level, the “leave no one behind” indexes [1] highlight the following observations:

  • Benin’s highest performance is on the dimension of inequality of income and wealth, with a score of 67.8 out of 100 for Benin as a whole. However, this dimension has the most pronounced disparities between departments, as measured by the average deviation of index scores. The gap between the most advanced department and the least advanced, which is 52.1 index points, is also the highest of the four indexes.
  • The dimension in which Benin performs least well is accessibility and quality of services, with a score of 44.2 out of 100. This is also the dimension in which disparities, as measured by the average deviation of index scores, are smallest between departments. As for the gap between the most advanced department and the least advanced, it is 41.3 index points.
  • Gender equality scored 60.4 out of 100 nationally. Moreover, this is the dimension for which there is the least difference between the most advanced department and the one with the lowest score (33.9 index points).
  • Benin’s score on the poverty and material deprivation index is 52.0 out of 100, and the gap between the most advanced department and the least advanced department is 48.3 index points.

The data used in these analyses come from international sources to facilitate comparisons with other ECOWAS countries, as well as from national sources for the subnational analysis. However, as in other developing countries, missing data and delays in statistical production do not allow timely and accurate measurement of the progress and efforts made by Benin. Therefore, our analysis of the government’s efforts, in terms of public policies and investment, provides additional information to assess Benin’s performance.

The 2023 Sustainable Development Report once again places Benin among the countries with “strong commitment” to the SDGs, ranked 5th out the 74 countries worldwide, highlighting the Government’s commitment and efforts in implementing the 2030 Agenda. The analysis of performance on the “Six Transformations” highlights the significant progress and persistent challenges in achieving the targets for education, health and reducing socio-economic and gender inequalities. Among the most significant areas of progress, we can underline the reduction in poverty and inequality; and among the remaining challenges we can mention - despite some progress - the maternal, neonatal and under-5 mortality rates.

The analysis of the institutional framework for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Benin has revealed the strong institutional capacities for the achievement of the SDGs. Since 2016, Benin has appropriated the SDGs to domesticate the goals and adopt a coherent development strategy. The country has a cross-cutting institutional apparatus and strong political will, that could enable it to achieve significant results in the years to come. Analysis of the policies and legislation in force, through the SDG transformations dashboards, also shows how this government commitment is manifesting itself. The government continues to put in place policies to transform education, health, and reduce socio-economic and gender inequalities that target the challenges facing the country and could help accelerate Benin’s progress towards achieving the SDGs.

[1]: The “leaving no-one behind” indexes cover four dimensions of disparity: accessibility and quality of public services, poverty and material deprivation, gender inequality, and income and wealth inequalities.


The opinions expressed in this report do not reflect the views of any organization, agency, or program of the United Nations or the Government of Benin. It was prepared by a team of independent experts from the SDSN Secretariat and is based on the methodology of the Sustainable Development Report published by SDSN since 2016.

The principal authors are Samory Toure and Eve de la Mothe Karoubi. Grayson Fuller was responsible for data management and analysis. Max Gruber and Ruben Andino prepared the interactive online data visualization platform. The report was also supported by Leslie Bermont Diaz and Gaëlle Descloitres. The report is published under the responsibility of Guillaume Lafortune.

The production of this report was made possible through the support of Benin’s Ministry of Economy and Finance and Ministry of Development and Coordination of Government Action.

Design and layout by Phoenix Design Aid – Graphic design inspired by Pica Publishing Ltd -