COTONOU ONE OF AFRICA GATEWAYS - Language and Marketing Services


Almost regarded as Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Cotonou is the largest city in Benin, the best known of all. It’s the economic heart of the country and a must-have business center.

Cotonou is the economic capital and largest city of Benin with 760,000 inhabitants in the 2013 census. It is also home to many government and diplomatic services.

It’s known throughout West Africa for its 20-hectare international market (Dantokpa), the largest market in West Africa, its Zemidjans (motorcycle-drivers) and a secondary market, Missebo, located a few meters from the Dantokpa market.

Due to its very interesting geographical location, Cotonou develops exchanges with neighboring countries. It has air, sea, and river exit gates to Porto-Novo and land routes that serve the entire sub region, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso.

It is home to two-thirds of the country’s industries. The main companies (a cement plant of the German group Heidelberg Cement) and banks of Benin, most of the governmental institutions sit there.

The proximity of the border with Nigeria now makes it one of the hubs of informal trade in the sub region. The Dantokpa market, the largest in West Africa (one billion CFA francs a day, around 1.5 million euros), is the center.

Benin’s largest business center is also known in the region for its European used car market, which it stores in huge open-air car parks at the port.

It also houses the Port of Cotonou (PAC) which is the real lung of the national economy, with 90% of foreign trade and more than 60% of the country’s GDP.

The PAC trades with Europe, North and South America and Asia, making Cotonou a “warehouse city” generating intense trade, handling and logistics activity.

It serves the countries of the hinterland, such as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Chad. It is also the first transit port in Niger, a landlocked border country, particularly for the export of uranium mined in northern Niger by the world’s leading civilian nuclear company, the French group Areva. In fact, even inside the port, there is a free zone at the disposal of the Sahelian landlocked countries.


We hope you liked this article. Feel free to leave us your questions, comments or suggestions.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x