Interventions in Benin

  1. Refine the diagnosis tools

    The tools of diagnosis and for the formulation of the programs must allow to better understand the relationship between local economic development and food security. Indeed, in order to understand the processes going on in a given region, an analysis of the main systems of agricultural production, non-agricultural sources of revenue, food availability, local systems of self-consumption and (re)distribution as well as exchange fluxes between the actors enables to develop a more coherent and realistic strategic framework for local economic development and food security.
  2. Integrate the spatial dimension in the formulation of projects:

    Good planning cannot be done without an understanding of the spatial organisation of the potentials and activities in the municipal territory, and its relationships and exchanges with neighbour territories. It is essential that the municipal planning integrates the spatial dimension in all the participative process. The potential impact of an investment on the dynamics of development and food security must be analysed before proceeding in developing a menu of investments. This means that we must identify since the start:

    - the impact of the investments on local economic development: it must be structuring and stimulate exchanges and investments, whether it be by enhancing the quantity, quality or regularity of a production, or by facilitating its selling and the generation of an added-value.

    - the impact on 4 the pillars of food security : this analysis must be based on the understanding of existing systems of production, distribution and consumption of food; it must develop hypotheses based on the impact of investment on economic activity.

    - the inclusive nature of the investments: : an analysis of the costs of participation of the poorest households to the value chains and the structuring investments, enables to develop hypotheses on the inclusive nature of the mechanism and the necessary conditions to avoid their capture by the elites.

    The economic feasibility of the investments must be analysed through a simplified and standardised business plan that will enable to understand the conditions of profitability of the activity and to consequently adjust, for example for a better management of the costs. The analysis must integrate the conditions of viability and durability.
  3. Think of the strategic role of the municipality in the LED (local economic development)

    The municipality must invest its limited resources in the most strategic aspects. The analysis of potential is thus a fundamental starting point. It is necessary to include in the planning, an analysis of the feasibility of the project management and the monitoring from the municipalities. This analysis should include the following aspects:

    - Adequacy of the municipal project management: the investment must be in the responsibilities and capacities of the municipality;

    - We must consider since the conception, the management modalities and the relevance in involving or not the municipality in the long run.

    - Avoid the tendency to overload the municipal technical services with responsibilities that they cannot handle in the long-term;

    - Prioritization criteria for the investments to achieve through municipal project management should take into account the potential to mobilize the fiscal deposits and tax depreciation possibilities.
  4. Mapping the actors

    The planning, implementation and the monitoring of investments promoting LED represent a diversity of responsibilities and capacities. An intervention must define which actors will be involved in each investment, their functions and capacities. The municipalities are not, and should not be the sole responsible. A good mapping of the actors is necessary at the planning and formulation stage of the projects. Aside from the devolved organs, other actors must be involved. They can add, among others, the service providers (NGO, financial services, etc.), economic actors upstream and downstream of production.
  5. Structuring the economic actors

    The role of the local governments in economic development should not be limited to investments but also include a role in facilitating the networking of the actors and economic operators. The development of value chains needs the setting up of networks and platforms.
  6. Ensure that there is a real appropriation

    Funding through local project ownership and the national financial circuits enables a real approval and learning, but a close supervision is necessary to identify bottlenecks. The development partners must integrate the notion of different rhythms of approval for each municipality, and adopt realistic objectives and mechanisms fostering performance. However, it is difficult to improve the efficiency of a process without a good follow-up system that clearly identifies the bottlenecks, call on the actors to develop responses, and makes systematic the learning process. We must develop a standardised monitoring mechanism that can be adapted to the conditions of each country, and that enables the consolidation of results and the systematization of the experiences at the national and international level.
  7. Establish a monitoring system of investments

    It is crucial to establish a standard framework of monitoring the municipal investments from the start, and this in function of the specific needs of the municipalities. This system must enable to measure the progress towards the goals of each investment, with a base line and appropriate indicators for a real professionalization translated into good performances. A standardized monitoring framework can be developed for the investments.
  8. Systematize the experiences and good practices

    It is crucial to provide more systematically the added value of the experiences in the different countries to the new projects. The implementation of the standardized monitoring framework of the support processes to the municipalities, and the investments, enables to gather experiences, lessons learned and good practices in a systematic manner. In order to adjust the learning processes and adaptive management on demand, the monitoring frameworks must respond to the necessities identified from the start and regularly updated.

Stories from the Field