Benin has a GDP (PPP) of 15.64 billion USD, or 1,600 USD per capita, which ranks it 135th in the world. Although it has experienced some economic instability since gaining independence in 1960 and then transitioning to democracy in the 1990s, Benin has posted economic growth of around 5% each year since 1991, signaling the start of economic recovery.
Its primary economic sector is agriculture, which accounts for over 30% of total economic output, and the vast majority of the Beninese population is employed in subsistence farming or fishing. Like many West African nations, its main export product is cotton, which accounts for around 40% of GDP and 80% of export receipts. Other agricultural export products include beans, rice, yams, cashews, and peanuts.
The industrial sector is also very important to the Beninese economy, particularly the processing of oils, petrochemicals, and power production. Expatriates working in Benin tend to be employed in governmental or ambassadorial roles, or work for charities, NGOs, or aid programs. There are also some expatriates working in Benin in senior positions in agriculture and industry.
Expats wanting to work in Benin will need a permit in order to do so. All permits for working in Benin must be applied for before moving to the country, as they will need to be applied for through your local embassy or consulate in your home country. In addition, you may also find the application process easier if you have already secured work in Benin, as your prospective employer will then be able to sponsor your application, increasing the likelihood of your permit being granted. For more information about applying for permits for working in Benin, expatriates are advised to contact their local embassy or consulate, or to consult with their prospective employer.
All residents of Benin are required to pay income tax on their earnings, including foreigners and expats. However, as a foreigner you may not need to pay income tax at Beninese rates on all of your income, depending on your residency status for tax purposes. If you are considered a resident of Benin for tax purposes, which means that you live and work in Benin for more than 183 days in a year, then you will pay Beninese rates on your worldwide income. However, if you live and work in Benin for less than 183 days in a year, you will pay income tax at Beninese rates on your Beninese income only.
Benin has a progressive income taxation system, which means that your total earnings for the fiscal year will determine how much income tax you will be required to pay. The income tax rates for expatriates working in Benin are as follows: