For a long time, agriculture was the primary source of wealth in Benin, ahead of services and industry. Over the past two decades, however, there has been a major change: the rapid growth of the services sector fueled in particular by the rise of entrepreneurship, supported by digitalization (WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram) and the soaring use of mobile money. In 2019, services accounted for 48.8% of GDP, compared with 28.1% for agriculture and 14.8% for industry.
Graph: Employment and value added by sector in Benin
Source: AJEB based on WB World Development Indicators data
It can be seen that the increase in the value added (as a percentage of GDP) of the services sector is accompanied by an increase in the share of employment covered by the sector. These employment figures are estimates by the International Labour Organization and may therefore underestimate the current situation.
The digital revolution and the acceleration of digitalization by the covid-19 pandemic strongly affect all sectors but especially services. Everywhere in the world, young people are reinventing themselves, entrepreneurship in the digital age, goes through digital marketing, e-commerce. Social networks (groups, WhatsApp statuses, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) are used beyond distraction to approach and maintain its customers. The internet is now an important input of production factors. Students have at their disposal on the Internet MOOCS, online training ...
The sustainable development of the economy requires the development of the private sector, the creation not only of a favorable administrative framework but also of an appropriate environment. With digitalization, the development of the private sector and therefore of the economy requires access to digital for all.
In Benin, we are witnessing an almost duopoly held by MTN and MOOV. Today, the cost of internet connection in Benin is still quite expensive. Too expensive and its costs suffocating for the young population, entrepreneurs, and students.
The minimum monthly salary in Benin is 40,000FCFA. A monthly 3GB package costs 4000FCFA or 10% of the minimum wage. The average student from a low-income family does not have the necessary means to have access to online training, MOOCs. The covid-19 pandemic has notably revealed the importance of access to the internet. Many students in the various faculties and schools in the country, found themselves unable to take courses through TEAMS, ZOOM .