Benin – New Stormwater Management Project in Cotonou

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of $100 million to support the government of Benin’s efforts to reduce flood risks in selected areas of Cotonou and strengthen urban resilience management and capacity at the city level.

cotonou benin
Cotonou is a large port city on the south coast of Benin, in West Africa and Benin’s largest city.
Cotonou saw severe flooding in October and November 2010 as a result of tidal and river waters. The flooding caused a severe outbreak of cholera. Photo: Osia ZANNOU under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Stormwater Management and Urban Resilience Project aims to improve the living conditions of citizens of Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin, by reducing their flood risks, their vulnerability and risk of poverty by protecting against loss of assets. It will also help improve management of municipal resources, infrastructure, and flood-prone areas. The project will construct 28.07 km of drains and storm gutters, 7.27 km of gabions/reno mattresses, and three retention ponds for a total storage volume of 431,698 m3 will be rehabilitated to reduce impacts of cyclical floods and the occurrence of vector-borne (malaria) and water-borne diseases for over 168,000 beneficiaries.

“Flooding is a recurrent issue in the city of Cotonou, with significant damage to the population. This project reinforces the actions already undertaken by the World Bank to limit the harm caused by stormwater in this city”, said Katrina Sharkey, World Bank Country Manager for Benin.

The project is the World Bank response following the January 2018 multi-donor roundtable, organized by the government to mark the start of the Cotonou Stormwater Program (Programme d’Assainissement Pluvial de la Ville de Cotonou, PAPC), which is supported by six donors. With this project, the World Bank finances activities in 3 of the 34 basins under the PAPC. Through integrated flood risk management, the project supports a systemic, holistic approach to Cotonou’s drainage network -both in terms of the drainage system, and the individual basins- combining the urban, water and environment agendas.

The project is in line with the now closed Benin Emergency Urban Environment Project (PUGEMU) which aimed to improve infrastructure and mitigate the negative environmental impacts of floods in the Cotonou Agglomeration and increase Benin’s level of preparedness for future flooding. The PUGEMU produced the 2015 Drainage Master Plan for the Cotonou Agglomeration, which government uses to make investment decisions for this project and sought to build on the foundation laid by previous projects for capacity building in municipal planning, implementation, and monitoring of basic municipal services.

The project is also in line with the active Benin Cities Support Project (PAURAD) which aims to increase access to urban services and improve urban management in ten cities of Benin, including in Cotonou, through provision of stormwater drainage infrastructure.