Benin has become the first member of OHADA, an initiative to harmonize business laws across 17 West and Central Africa nations, to implement the entreprenant status. The official launch took place in Cotonou on May 5, 2015 and was attended by over 600 participants, including private sector stakeholders, government officials, and donors.
OHADA, or the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa, adopted the new simplified legal regime to encourage micro and small entrepreneurs to join the formal sector.
The Permanent Secretary of OHADA, Professor Dorothé Cossi Sossa, attended the launch and highlighted the importance of the entreprenant status: “This new regime helps the transition from an informal to a formal economy. It is an essential stepping stone to the emergence of a true and dynamic private sector.”
By simplifying the business registration process and making it free, the government is encouraging micro and small enterprises to formalize and benefit from various advantages. “This will enable these businesses to create jobs, increase profits, contribute to economic growth and thereby reduce poverty in Benin,” said the Honorable Minister of Public Policy, Antonin Dossou.
The national rollout follows a successful pilot project conducted from April 2014 to March 2015. The project targeted over 3,600 informal micro enterprises located in Cotonou. Since then, over 400 small entrepreneurs have formalized their businesses. As a result of the pilot, the process of registering a business has become easier, cheaper, and faster for entrepreneurs in Benin.