Cotonou, March 10, 2023 – On a two-day visit to Benin, Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Jenkins met with senior Beninese officials to discuss expanding and strengthening U.S.-Beninese security cooperation.
During the visit, the Undersecretary met with the Ministers of Planning & Governmental Coordination, Justice, Interior and Defense to discuss how the U.S. can respond to Benin’s security needs. Current cooperation focuses on: 1) strengthening the capacity of Beninese security forces and 2) creating more economic opportunities in the North. This includes an 8 billion FCFA program helping the USSF Border Police improve civil-police relations via community engagement training; providing first aid kits and combat first aid training that saves the lives of Beninese soldiers wounded by violent extremist improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and conducting training to help the Beninese military better detect and defuse IEDs to avoid future injuries/deaths.
Additionally, the Undersecretary met with the Mines Advisory Group, an international NGO receiving U.S. funding to assist Benin in securing its armories, destroying unused ammunition, and preventing violent extremists from accessing weapons.
Under Secretary Jenkins also discussed with her Beninese partners how economic development and inclusion are critical parts of security; especially including women in all aspects of peacebuilding via the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace and Security. This strategy recognizes that women are critical actors to achieving sustainable international peace and security and that they are essential to having meaningful participation in peace processes, peacebuilding and security.
This visit underscores the United States’ ongoing commitment to its security partnership with Benin and to assist any Benin-led effort to repulse violent extremist organizations. It also highlights U.S. engagement in working with Benin and other regional partners to build security force capacity, reinforce social cohesion and prevent weapons from falling into the hands of violent extremists.