Benin is a country in West Africa with a population of around 10 million – and although it’s neighbours with Nigeria it has nowhere the same trade links or business opportunities.
Porto Novo is the capital of Benin but most of the country’s trade is done via the bustling port of Cotonou where cargo includes cocoa, rice and cotton, which is the lifeblood of the economy.
There is also a growing trade in used vehicles from Europe and the US – imports have grown from 200,000 in 2010 to 314,000 in 2014.
On average, 25,000 cars pass through Cotonou every month – up to 90% of which end up in Nigeria – but it’s something of a murky market and in 2013 there was a diplomatic disagreement between the two countries when Nigerian customs officials directly accused the Beninese government of smuggling vehicles into Nigeria.
So if you’re thinking of dabbling in the Beninese second-hand car market, approach it with caution.
And as Benin is something of an unknown quantity, it may be worth setting up an international conference call with potential business partners to get the lay of the land before you commit.
And here’s how…