Standard and Poor's Credit Upgrade for Republic of Benin
WASHINGTON, D.C: The West African nation of Benin has become one of only six countries in Sub-saharan Africa to receive a credit rating from the prestigious Standard and Poor's Rating Services.
The B+ rating places Benin on par with other notable emerging markets, including Indonesia and Turkey, and describes the country's outlook as "stable". The Economist magazine recently predicted a 6.5 percent growth rate this year for Benin's economy.
Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) President Stephen Hayes hailed the rating. "Benin's rating and that of other African countries," Hayes said, "signal to U.S. investors the wealth of investment opportunities on the continent."
Benin has long been known as an island of stability in West Africa. It was one of the first African countries to undergo a successful transition to democracy in the early 1990s and has since held a number of peaceful democratic elections.
Other criteria influencing the rating included the Beninese government's conservative fiscal policy, as well as the reduction of the country's external debt burden through the Heavily Indebted Poor Country program of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Benin's currency, the CFA franc, is pegged to the euro and also ensures economic stability and a guarantee of convertibility.
Benin's Minister of Foreign Affairs Rogatien Biaou is in Washington this week to discuss economic and policy issues with U.S. government officials and American business leaders.
The other Sub-saharan African nations rated by Standard and Poor's are Botswana (A+); Cameroon (B); Ghana (B+); Senegal (B+); and South Africa (A).
CCA, established in 1993, is a nonpartisan 501 (c) (3) membership organization of over 190 U.S. companies dedicated to strengthening the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Africa. CCA members represent nearly 85 percent of total U.S. private sector investments in Africa. CCA's website is <http://www.africacncl.org/>www.africacncl.org.