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Proclamation of the Republic of Benin, 60 years on…

December 7, 2018 edition; serial number: 1482. ‘The Cross of Benin’, a weekly publication of the Catholic Church

In an interview with the Catholic weekly, former government Minister Sylvain Akindes Adekpedjou seems to regret the good old colonial times, when national resources were well managed. After Dahomey’s independence from France in August 1960, says Mr. Akindes, the national elite was strongly committed to promoting local and national development. This is not to say, however, that all was perfect: some members of the elite manipulated their unschooled compatriots during election time to win votes. Tribal politics finally ended up in a wasted opportunity to build a close-knit nation based on brotherhood, justice and labor – one would say ‘hard work’. In the morrow of 1960, Dahomey, which was renamed People’s Republic of Benin in 1975, was a producer of palm nuts, tobacco and cocoa, among many other cash crops. Meanwhile, the quality of education has nosedived.

The situation is made worse today, by the recruitment of thousands of school teachers, who lack the required qualifications. In a nutshell, Benin has lost more ground than it has gained over the past 60 years, Mr. Akindes concludes.

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