The sections and agencies that make up the Mission work together to address the goals of the United States. Please click on each link for more information.
Offices & Departments
Management :Under the supervision of the Management Officer, the various components of the Management Section provide logistical and operational support to the Embassy. The Management Section is responsible for staffing, equipping, and supporting the Embassy as a whole. Activities of the Management Section include personnel, building maintenance, fiscal management, transportation, information systems and communications for the employees of the Mission. The Management Section includes the General Service Office, Facilities Management Section, Financial Management Office, Human Resources Office, Information Management Office, Community Liaison Office, and Health Unit.
General Services Office: The General Services Office (GSO) is responsible for all matters relating to government-owned property and residential / non-residential leasing. All contracting and procurement for goods and services required by the embassy is performed by GSO. GSO manages the receiving, inventory, and warehousing functions, maintains and issues expendable and non-expendable supplies and materials, provides travel and expediting services, and is responsible for the shipment and clearance of all incoming and outgoing freight. GSO also operates and maintains a motorpool, which is comprised of a fleet of official embassy vehicles used for the transportation of embassy employees and goods for official purposes.
Facilities Management: The Facilities Management Office (FMO) is responsible for the management and maintenance of all United States Government-owned properties in Benin. The FMO staff performs emergency and preventative maintenance and assists with building improvement and renovation projects. Employees are skilled in trades such as engineering, plumbing, and carpentry.
Financial Management: The Financial Management Office is responsible for all financial matters related to the operation of the embassy, including budgeting, accounting, cashiering, accommodation exchange, vendor payments, and travel claims.
Human Resources: The Human Resources Office is responsible for providing a full range of personnel services for both American and locally employed staff members. The Human Resources Office is responsible for time and attendance functions and implements policies and procedures which conform to local labor regulations. The Human Resources Office is in charge of recruitment, training, and recognition of employees.
Information Management: The Information Management Office (IMO) is responsible for managing and maintaining the Embassy’s communications systems. These include telephone networks, computer networks, and all communications equipment. The IMO provides desktop support, computer training, switchboard services, and also oversees the transportation and distribution of diplomatic pouch and mail
Community Liaison Office: The Community Liaison Office (CLO) works with US personnel and family members to maintain high morale at post. The CLO assists individuals in adjusting to post environment, identifies the needs of the US mission community and responds with appropriate service, information and referral. The CLO advises post management on community matters and functions as a resource for employees and family members at post.
Health Unit: The Embassy’s Health Unit is responsible for the medical care of all American employees and their family members. The health unit provides medical evaluations and treatment, laboratory services, immunizations, and first aid care to patients. Referrals and medical evacuations are also handled by the medical team.
Political & Economic
The Political and Economic Section, which also operates Commercial Services, monitors a wide range of issues in Benin such as:
- Human rights
- Democratic progress and elections
- Social and civic freedoms and religious expression
- Labor relations and student activism
- Macroeconomic stability and growth
- Business climate
- U.S. investment and trade
The State Department issues three major reports for every country in the world, including Benin: the Trafficking in Persons Report, the International Religious Freedom Report, and the Human Rights Report. The Political Officer is responsible, along with appropriate Washington DC-based officials, for drafting and editing these reports.
Ambassador’s Special Self Help Program (SSH)
The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) program is a grassroots assistance program that allows U.S. Embassy to respond quickly to community initiated requests for small development projects. Through grants of less than $10,000, this program funds construction projects (schoolrooms, community centers, health facilities, school dormitories, et cetera), the purchase of income generating equipment, public sanitation projects, and so forth.
The Ambassador’s Special Self Help Program (SSH) is a development program funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID). The program allows U.S. Ambassadors in developing countries to respond directly to the initiative and aspirations of local communities. SSH projects can often be quickly implemented and have a big impact — making the program very valuable and highly appreciated at the grassroots level.
Special Self Help projects should be initiated and administered by the local community. SSH funds finance only a portion of the total costs. A significant community contribution in cash, labor and/or local construction materials is required, hence the term “self help.”
For more information, contact Mr. Quenum Cosme of the SSH office at the American Embassy, Cotonou, Benin.
The Self-Help section manages 3 main programs; the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help program (SSH), the Democracy and Human Right program (DHR) and the Humanitarian Assistance Program (HA). Moreover, there is the Ambassador’s Fund for Refugee and the Economic Support Fund (ESP) to support Post’s Anti-Trafficking in Person initiative.
Democracy and Human Right Fund
The democracy and Human Right Fund II Activity (DHRF II) was authorized in May 2000, and it builds upon the foundation laid by the previous DHRF Project which ended September 30, 2000. The DHRF is intended to support activities that promote political pluralism and human and civil rights. The small activities funded through this program provide an effective alternate vehicle for supporting democracies and good governance.
Humanitarian Assistance (HA) and Excess Property (EP)
Through this program, DoD constructs Schools, Health centers, Dormitories, Laboratories and donates property no longer needed to support U.S. military needs. Such assistance promotes democracy development and regional stability, averts political and humanitarian crises and helps countries recover from conflict.
Humanitarian excess property available through this program may include medical equipment and supplies, construction equipment, trucks and other vehicles, generators and other electrical equipment, school supplies, tools, furniture tents, and blanket and clothing.
Ambassador’s Fund for Refugees
This program intends to provide Ambassadors with the means to respond to critical, low-cost gaps in refugees’ assistance and protection that for some reason have not been addressed in the overall multilateral refugees programs. The program considers projects that benefit ‘’population of concern’’ refugees/returnees and their host community.
Public Affairs Section
The Public Affairs Section (PAS), better known as the American Cultural Center, is the Press, Culture and Education office of the Embassy of the United States in Benin. It promotes a better understanding of American life, society, economy, politics, and culture by providing information about the United States to institutions and professionals in the media, education and other sectors of the host society.
The PAS handles all press inquiries, and works closely with the local media and government officials who receive an electronic file called the Washington File. The File provides timely and authoritative information about the U.S. and its policies, including official statements and speeches, transcripts of press conferences and briefings, congressional testimony, etc. Users of the World Wide Web may access it easily by clicking on the link above. More detailed information available to interested users is also available through Electronic Journals and the State Department Home Page.
The PAS sponsors a variety of programs to commemorate special American and international events, e.g., Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday, African American History Month, and International Environmental Day, to name a few. It also sponsors weekly news and feature film presentations and monthly book discussions that are open to the public. For more information on our programs, please Contact us.
Regional Security Office
The Mission of the Regional Security Office is to provide a safe and secure environment for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy and to provide for the safety and security of all U.S. government employees and eligible family members assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Benin.
The Regional Security Officer (RSO) is a Special Agent with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS). The RSO is the primary law enforcement officer at post and responsible for developing and maintaining effective security programs for the Embassy. Regional Security Officers are engaged in every facet of security at post, combating criminal, intelligence, and terrorist threats against Americans abroad. They are also responsible for the protection of life, property, and classified information. Additionally, the Regional Security Officer coordinates security for visiting U.S. dignitaries, conducts criminal and personnel security investigations and provides professional security advice to U.S. business executives overseas.
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) is the security and law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State. DS is a world leader in international investigations, threat analysis, cyber security, counterterrorism, security technology, and protection of people, property, and information. The Bureau is responsible for providing a safe and secure environment for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. Every diplomatic mission in the world operates under a security program designed and maintained by Diplomatic Security. Overseas, DS develops and implements effective security programs to safeguard all personnel who work in every U.S. diplomatic mission around the world. In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel protect the Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States, investigate passport and visa fraud, and conducts personnel security investigations. Operating from a global platform in 31 U.S. cities and more than 160 foreign countries, DS ensures that America can conduct diplomacy safely and securely. DS plays a vital role in protecting 275 U.S. diplomatic missions and their personnel overseas, securing critical information systems, investigating passport and visa fraud, and fighting the war on terror. To read more about the services provided by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, visit http://www.state.gov/m/ds/
Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
Cotonou, Benin is increasingly becoming home to several multinational companies, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations with economic, personnel, and branding interests in Africa, particularly in the West Africa Region. The security landscape in this region is complicated by a diversity of political agendas, cultures, languages, laws, and business regulations. The result of West Africa’s complex security climate is that protecting personnel, offices, travelers, supply lines, and information is extremely challenging. In response to these challenges, several private sector leaders have joined with the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) and the Regional Security Office in Cotonou, Benin to create a public–private security information-sharing platform known as the OSAC Cotonou Country Council. The Country Council is headquartered in Cotonou and focuses on security issues involving private sector operations in Cotonou and the greater West Africa Region.
The Cotonou County Council is a joint venture between a dedicated group of private security representatives of American organizations and the U.S. Government.
Please visit www.osac.gov to learn more.
For more information or to register as a member, contact the Regional Security Office at (229) 21 -300650 Ext. 4213
Rewards for Justice
The Rewards for Justice Program continues to be one of the most valuable U.S. Government assets in the fight against international terrorism. Established by the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism, Public Law 98-533, the Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Under this program, the Secretary of State is currently offering rewards of up to $25 million for information that prevents or favorably resolves acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or property worldwide. Rewards also may be paid for information leading to the arrest or conviction of terrorists attempting, committing, conspiring to commit, or aiding and abetting in the commission of such acts.
Since the inception of the Rewards for Justice Program in 1984, the United States Government has paid over $125 million to more than 80 people who provided actionable information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide. The program played a significant role in the arrest of international terrorist Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
While the law governing the Rewards for Justice Program is aimed at terrorism directed against Americans, the United States shares information with other nations whose citizens are at risk. Every government and every citizen has a stake in bringing terrorists to justice and in preventing acts of terrorism.
For more information please visit: http://www.rewardsforjustice.net/
For the first time, the U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program is offering rewards for information on key leaders of terrorist organizations in West Africa: al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA); and the groups known as the Signed-in-Blood Battalion and Boko Haram.
The Secretary of State has authorized rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the location of AQIM leader Yahya Abu el Hammam and Signed-in-Blood Battalion leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar; rewards of up to $3 million each for information leading to the location of AQIM leader Malik Abou Abdelkarim and MUJWA spokesperson Oumar Ould Hamaha; and a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to the location of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram.
For more information on the recent subjects identified please visit:
Recent Publications by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Significant Attacks Against U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel, 1998-2012 – This report catalogs significant violence committed against U.S. diplomatic personnel and facilities abroad: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/211361.pdf (PDF 350KB)
2012 DS Year In Review – This report provides an overview of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s operations and activities for calendar year 2012: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/210836.pdf (PDF 440KB)
Purpose: The Peace Corps works at the grassroots level, helping communities with their development needs. The Peace Corps development strategy is aimed primarily at enhancing opportunities for youth, girls and women.
Activities: Our development projects address small business development, community health and disease prevention, environmental protection, and secondary school English teaching. Peace Corps Volunteers work with farmers and community associations, nurses and midwives, teachers, students, and parents, as well as with national non-governmental organizations and international agencies.
Staffing: There are 100 Peace Corps Volunteers currently in-country. They are dispersed throughout the 12 economic regions of the country. On staff, there are 3 Americans and 63 Beninese who work at the Peace Corps office.
Other Relevant Information: Peace Corps was established in Benin in 1968 and over 1700 Volunteers have served in Benin over the past 32 years of uninterrupted service.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) works in over 100 countries around the world with the goal to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. In Benin, USAID’s current programming has a strong emphasis on the health sector, but also includes activities that combat corruption, reduce violence against women and girls, as well as regional programs that strengthen the agricultural sector in Benin.
The health challenges in Benin are evident by the grave indicators:
- 11.5% of children don’t reach the age of five,
- 351 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births,
- 66.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.
USAID/Benin’s overarching goal in the health sector is to reduce preventable deaths among vulnerable populations, especially pregnant women and children. Programs aim to improve citizen access to critical life-saving health services that will by strengthening the public health system, supporting health clinics, and expanding the network of community health workers. Activities aim to reduce the prevalence of malaria and improve practices for maternal and child survival, family planning, and HIV/AIDS prevention.
USAID/Benin manages activities under a global initiative: the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). Under PMI, USAID/Benin aims to reach vulnerable groups with proven preventive and therapeutic interventions to reduce malaria-related morbidity and mortality.
GENDER EQUITY PROGRAM: As President Obama stated during his trip to Kenya in 2015, “Communities that give their daughters the same opportunities as their sons, they are more peaceful, they are more prosperous, they develop faster, and they are more likely to succeed.” USAID/Benin has advanced opportunities for women and girls over the past 10 years by implementing gender equality programs that raise awareness about the rights of women and girls, and has been a leader in supporting Benin’s reforms that protect women and girls from gender-based violence.
ANTI-CORRUPTION PROGRAMS: As part of the broader West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative (WACSI), USAID implements two programs that promote accountable public institutions and limit the ability for corruption to go unchecked.
FOOD SECURITY PROGRAMS (through regional programs): There are a series of regionally and centrally funded food security programs which incorporate Benin under their activities. USAID/Benin staff supports the management and oversight of these activities on the ground.
LEGACY PROGRAMS: USAID maintains a series of projects in the areas of education, disabilities, elections and climate change which may not continue beyond the life of current activities.