A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT TO THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE

Benin
LOCATION: Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Nigeria and Togo POPULATION: 8,078,314 (July 2007 est.) CLIMATE: tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north GDP (purchasing power parity): $8.931 billion (2006 est.) INFLATION RATE (consumer prices): 3% (2006 est.) INDUSTRIES: textiles, food processing, construction materials, cement GDP (real growth rate): 4% (2006 est.) Not all African countries are the same. In a continent relentlessly scourged by armed struggles for power, Benin stands out as one of the strongest examples of democracy in action. Entering the 20th Century as a French colony, Benin moved through selfgovernment to independence within 60 years, held its first presidential and legislative elections in the early 1990s, and was the first African country to successfully make the transition from dictatorship to a multi-party political system. Benin maintained a good economic performance through the early part of this decade but this weakened markedly after 2002, with growth slowing to about 3 percent in 2004. A year later, the rate was still only 3.9 per-

Benin’s President Boni Yayi with George Bush. Relations between the two countries are strong, with bilateral economic agreements and shared regional goals.

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LEADING THE MARCH TOWARDS A STABLE, PROSPEROUS REGION
It is karmic that a historical hotbed of the slave trade is today one of Africa’s most secure and peaceful democracies. Economic growth is now top of the agenda for Benin’s people
cent. Allegations of corruption and mismanagement were rife across the board and poverty levels had reached an all-time high. Thomas Boni Yayi’s landslide victory at the most recent presidential elections, held in March 2006, introduced the seeds of change. Dr Boni Yayi, armed with twelve years of experience as the director of the West African Development Bank, has vowed to bring about economic growth and eradicate corruption. “Poverty is not a problem but the consequence of a problem: bad governance,” he states. By focusing on the implementation of wealth-creating systems, such as encouraging private enterprises by improving infrastructures and maximising human resources by fostering education and health, the new

administration hopes to create a better, more efficient and powerful Benin. As one of the first steps towards this, in November 2006 the president announced new funding to provide free primary education. But it is thanks to Benin’s excellent record in democracy, respect for basic human rights, and commitment to economic improvement that it has become eligible for funds from the U.S. government’s Millenium Challenge Account (MCA). U.S. Ambassador to Benin Gayleatha Brown has highlighted the strong ties of friendship and economic cooperation between the two countries since the democratic transition, and has praised President Boni Yayi’s efforts to eliminate corruption and improve governance. “Benin’s consultative process is a model for other MCA candidate countries,” says the ambassador. Access to this funding, totalling $307 million, is going to be spent on four separate areas over five years, all geared towards improving the general economic and social climate. The Access to Land program aims to regulate land claims; the Access to Financial Services is expected to expand such services to micro, small and medium enterprises, particularly in agricultural areas; Continued on page 2

This supplement has been produced and sponsored by Summit Communications. It did not involve the reporting or editing staff of The New York Times.

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Obviously. as well as sector-specific plenary sessions and workshops such as finance. Political stability looks set to continue. says Dr Boni Yayi. ICT.-Africa Business Summit. ■ ‘BENIN IS AN IMPORTANT AFRICAN CONNECTION POINT’ Minister of Development. and this is what we are proceeding to Central Africa. stabilization of the macro-economic tourism and agriculture. with the April 2007 legislative elections giving Dr Boni Yayi’s Cauri Forces for an Emerging Benin party 35 out of 83 seats in the National Assembly: a good sign for the future of the country. We hope to see you in Cape Town. So Minister of foreign companies to the counthere is a need for a new.S.Finance Benin is an important connectively. is also interested in promoting increased trade between the two countries. our first summit on African soil.com . however.S. Benin’s fell KOUPAKI omy are most likely to attract short at four to five percent. The U. energy.Development. particularly sector. Once every two years CCA convenes the U. as a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a key connection point with the rest of this zone. so these opment in order to maintain economic are two areas targeted for reform and investgrowth? ment. is our neighbor. We invite you to join us from November 14-16.” The bulk of the grant. howduce lasting results because ecoever.” he says. By providing a free trade zone for its landlocked neighbours. This year’s Summit will enable you to explore many business partnerships in Africa. primarily in health and education but also targeting economic integration. Nigeria. operation. Economy and Finance Pascal Irénée Koupaki sets out Benin’s plans for financial and democratic consolidation What is the new government framework. Increased trade and investment between United States and African businesses is the goal of CCA. position for us in terms of economic aspects. CCA programs and events are designed to bring together potential business partners and to showcase business opportunities on the Continent. People seize opportunities gradually as they appear and economic operators know that well. there is no oppor- tunity. in particular to access the far larger markets of Benin’s neighbors. Ambassador State. “It’s about BROWN modernizing the U. agribusiness. based Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) is dedicated to strengthening trade and investment partnerships between the United States and the 53 countries of Africa. try. D. This is the President’s intention point between West and tion. we have reached into our nomic growth was relatively own pockets before asking for weak. and the sports and entertainment industry. For private investors. STEPHEN HAYES President of the CCA ships. mining. economic diversifibringing to the economic develcation. and capabilities to potential buyers and customers throughout Africa.S. rural development. In order to reduce poverty foreign support. a minimum growth rate of seven PASCAL IRÉNÉE What aspects of Benin’s econpercent is required.-Africa Business Summit. is going towards improving the competitiveness of the Port of Cotonou. The summit will be a three-day event at the Cape Town Convention Center packed with networking opportunities. This is where the port and telecommunicaWhat are the main areas selected for devel. National Coordinator for the MCA. According to Simon-Pierre Adovelande. from 1990 onwards did not proFor this we need funding. 2007 in Cape Town. maritime and rail infrastructures. trade.road. the funding will initially pay for a port expert to run all management procedures. services. Benin’s political development education and social structures. is Benin’s political stability. points out Minister of Defense Issifou Kogui N’Douro. ■ Its location on the southwest cusp of western Africa makes Benin a vital component in the transport of goods across the sub-region and beyond. The main advantage. which operate through Benin’s Port of Cotonou.” says former to Benin Minister of Justice A b r a h a m Zinzindohoue. making Port of Cotonou Benin's premier transhipment point. we need to accompany such Our strategic development guidelines can improvements with similar development in be divided into five pillars: good public admin. the premier gathering of business and government leaders from the United States and Africa. dynam. and how do you intend to ic economic force to consolidate Economy and attract such investment? the country’s democracy defini. Benin. particularly because so much remains to be done. social development: health. under the Access to Markets section. for instance.S. and energy matters. the computerization of customs procedures. now is the time to consider Benin. by half over a fifteen-year period. Niger and Burkina Faso.C. Port of Cotonou is further strengthening ties between nations and promoting the economic growth of Benin and the sub-region. in particular two new quays to reduce waiting times for cargo SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION LETTER FROM STEPHEN HAYES.” he explains. South Africa for the biennial U. PRESIDENT OF THE CCA The Washington. and the building of new infrastructures both on land and at sea. The U. The Ministry of Justice is concurrently embarking on a national census GAYLEATHA B. A new feature at the 2007 Summit will be a trade show that will allow companies to showcase their products. Agency for International Development (USAID) finances various programs in Benin.S. The West Africa Regional Program (WARP).tions should be playing major roles. namely Nigeria. The MCA program is not the only proof of the strong links between Benin and the U. “We cannot have a trustworthy administration if we do not know who our citizens are. www. aims to ensure that Benin will benefit from the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project. this is a privileged development guidelines. “Benin is a safe country. Burkina Faso and Niger. and opment of Benin? finally.Benin / 2 Continued from page 1 and the Access to Justice program will undertake thorough reforms of the judicial and court systems.S. These istration and the development of the private will in turn benefit other sectors.portdecotonou. “Where there is no risk. with a population of implement through newly defined strategic 130 million.

South partners . SGBB has acquired 16 percent of the market share over the past three years. the Ivory with the opening of three more branches Coast and Senegal.” he says. Minister of Industry and Trade Moudjaïdou Soumanou hopes to reach this level and resuscitate the country’s textile industries.Union Bank of Africa. ATAOU SOUFIANO Red tape has been a drawback to coupled with a good democratic President the development of economic track record. “It’s our duty to offer all required conditions because it’s in our interest that people come”. Roger Dovonou. Through its links with the Société Générale worldwide. The been consistent enough to reduce reform of key sectors such as cotpoverty levels. and the IMF agreed to support a Private sector activity is crucial debt reduction package of $460 million under to the country’s continued development and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) ini.’ according to Minister of Agriculture. and by association BIBE has ranked the fourth-largest financial instituforged a reputation as one of the most tion in Benin. BIBE and its Nigerian presence in London. Operating as a part of Managing Director for investors and customers Banque Internationale in the French-speaking West the Group Union Bank of du Bénin Nigeria PLC. agriculture remains Benin’s major source of revenue. cotton could make Benin ‘one of the world’s 20 top agricultural nations. a new economic lease. “The policy on power management is of using local and renewable sources as much as possible”. Over the next five years. General Director of the Société Générale de Banques au Bénin. Ghana and Nigeria. according to Ataou Soufiano. in January this year the trusted and respected banks in Benin. First Bank of Nigeria. he says. Commerce and taking all private investment issues In March 2003. in line with Group Union Bank’s increasingly prominent role in the West expansion strategy. palm oil and even cashew nuts – three of Benin’s main products – is being studied in partnership with Brasilia. to engage in a liberal economy. through in the country’s predominantly agricultur.000 tonnes annually. bank expanded its national presence With new branches in Mali. Energy and Water Jocelyn Degbey. Our bringing together Benino-Nigerian private first branch dedicated to agriculture investors and four of the most important should open this year. the Port of Cotonou.” explains Internationale du Bénin (BIBE) was at the Gbenga Alese. and may be called Nigerian financial institutions. this way gives BIBE a substantial advan“We plan to go fully into the agriculture tage. the group. but ICT is playing an increasing role in the development of the country. job numbers here will almost double. which has attracted big business and personal customers alike. which have the capacity to handle aim: to consolidate democracy and to create 600. new industry. the World Bank Industry into account. says Minister of Mines. BIBE’s social African region. “Being both toward providing financial solutions to locally and internationally connected in the region’s growing agricultural sector. “Step by step. With a tion. However. while access to finanhas recommenced and measures cial and social institutions was have been initiated to improve comseverely limited. However. With adequate infrastructure investment and access to finance.economic growth. and for created a blueprint for interBIBE in particular to jostle for GBENGA ALESE African financial partnera place as the first port of call ships.6 billion naira was country’s banking sector. chiefly because of Benin’s success at ed to encourage the development of valuecontrolling inflation and external deficit. with the World Bank and IMF injecting $460 million in debt relief E conomic growth in Benin. the high levels of commercial activity coming in through Agriculture remains Benin’s primary source of revenue. telecommunications and elecstructure inhibited the creation of tricity. A lack of infraton. Currently Nigeria. Last year. and the production of ethanol from cotton. . has not and Finance Pascal Koupaki.” concludes Mr Alese. Companies opening fuel stations will be eligible for customs and import tax subsidies. Benin. we’re benefit from international funding. assisting Benin’s economy. ■ A REFERENCE POINT FOR AFRICAN BANKING Formed in 1990 as a pioneering venture business. added industries. is realizing its ambition to play an al areas. “Benin should develop fast given its geographical position close to Nigeria.BIBE. and the fact that it does not suffer from drought. such as Benin’s cotton “President Boni Yayi’s policies have a two-fold factories. 6. which is geared African Monetary Union. The government has decidtiative. potential projects cannot proceed without the application of major administrative reforms and the creation of an efficient infrastructure network. the will petitiveness at the Port of Cotonou. Mr Soufiano asserts that finding investment funds is not a problem. Economy last sixteen years. however.” says although fairly steady for the Minister of Development. President of the Benin Chamber of Commerce and Industry and chairman of the FTZ board.” concurs Bernard Gourlaouen.SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION 3/ Benin CREATING AN ECONOMY AND JOBS FOR THE PEOPLE Benin’s fiscal and democratic track record has led to increased support from international organizations. pumped into agricultural financing as part Ushering in a new ethos of of the Agricultural Credit regional financial cooperaGuarantee Scheme. has allowed Benin to Chamber of opportunities. Continental has provided a catalyst for Merchant Bank and First local institutions to position Interstate Merchant Bank themselves globally. While the West Africa Gas pipeline project will allow Benin to become less reliant on imported hydro-electricity. potential investors are on line for a new dam. with a view to privatization. Group Union Bank Nigeria. Banque the Benin Bank of Agriculture. which supports agricultural development. The group capital expanded from 1 bilwon the 2006 Euromoney lion FCFA to 9 billion FCFA over the first award for excellence as the best bank in fifteen years of its existence. Managing Director of forefront of the era of privatization in the BIBE. in spite of increased competition. Other measures center on reviving the industrial free trade zone.

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Political and financial stability has set the stage for progress.Benin’s economy enters a new era. As the international confidence has been restored. the new President Boni Yayi’s efforts to build a platform for growth are paying off. Economic development is set to follow. . and Benin is opening its door to foreign investment. with a special focus on five priority sectors.

” he says. Post and Telecoms into two Unitec has also impleseparate entities. and sending out a positive message to potential investors regarding our capacity for good management. its location making it a natural entry point for neighboring countries A $169 million investment has provided a regional platform. while the post office wants PHILIPPE BOCCO as well as a ‘guichet unique to enter the ICT sector fully General Director portuaire’. Lomé and Douala. according to ments. With new projects in the pipeline. This is extremely positive because the only way to tackle the challenge of development in Benin and the whole of Africa is through a strong private sector and a liberal environment. Benin mented cargo managing Telecom and La Poste du systems for ports in Ghana. ICT accessible to all. It has a significant role to play in attracting foreign partners. However. it has diversified into sectors as varied as transport and agriculture.8 billion CFA francs (around $7. The company’s role. “All partner investors seeking Philippe Amavi Bocco. This means a port from which counreforms. Benin and Nigeria. “The port can be the base of our industrialization if well managed. with companies such as Maersk and Sobemap poised to capitalize on the expansion of the port. electronic services. One measure being taken is the creation of a heavy goods truck park." . made in these endeavors.Benin / 6 SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION THE GATEWAY TO THE WEST AFRICAN COMMON MARKET Port of Cotonou is the main artery for goods traffic entering Benin. Private software provider and IT the company is always looking for forsolutions firm Unitec is at the forefront eign partners in terms of mobilizing of Benin’s ICT services sector.CHRISTOPHE Director of the Port of Cotonou. with Nigeria to renovation of port infrastructures. a subsidiary of the Sobemap. to guarantee basic infraceived solutions to spread professional structure development and to make software for development projects. including the computerization of cus. and can then be dispatched straight to the border. At 41. to develop the port as an important hub in the The main target areas are administrative sub-region. Cotonou. having worked with Allocated in October 2006. the first and most unique ‘build-operatedevelopment of ICT has become one of transfer’ provider in Africa’s technologthe engines of economic growth and a ical services sector. and has just recently started a new activity by becoming the exclusive distributor of Volswagen-Audi automobiles. modernize and sani. says general director Claude OloryTogbe. progress has been Togo. and Millennium Challenge Account has a close working relationship (MCA) could not have come at a better time. General rehabilitate.” he adds. Tunde's founder and CEO Razaki Babatunde Ollofindji is a leading figure in the nation’s economy and a prominent spokesperson for the young generation of private entrepreneurs. the $169 million grant him in the West African Development Bank. around which it has coninvestments.” he says. the port’s goods handling company. With a turnover in 2005 of 3. which is directing major efforts to Christophe Aguessy. The financial resources. This fact has not le the silting up of the harbor with eluded the new administration. which will not only increase its handling capacity and reduce congestion but will contribute to security by limiting the numbers of people entering the actual port area. From these. Tunde is now looking to expand throughout West Africa and to that effect it is preparing its flotation on Benin's stock exchange. toms procedures. Preparation for modernization of the port includes training their employees in the use of new machinery-where necessary sending them to neighboring ports to this end. its east. taxes. he gives an “A” to the new government: "We have entered an era of democratic renewal and there is definitely a much more favorable business climate. we simply won’t receive sufficient traffic to make it profitable. Mr Aguessy is confident that with this injection of funding the port can be brought up to international standards. Mr Bocco comcompany’s strategy. minimum environmental impact. with President Boni Yayi. and human resource management is the first priority for Sobemap.” Telecommunications. its General performance projects with a high rate Director. is aimed at improving the competitiveness and “My priorities are the same as the president’s: performance of the port. ■ A GENUINE ‘MADE IN BENIN’ SUCCESS STORY The Tunde Group is an ideal case study for all those who believe that Africa will only take off through a free market economy and private entrepreneurship. Media and New Unitec is also looking to become the Technologies Venance Gnigla. but Mr Aguessy knows that it doesn’t end there. he is also aware of the need to develop the industrial base of Benin to maximize the port’s potential. the burst of investment and expansion is welcome news. with offices for customs and police so that goods can be monitored. cusaccess. As imports continue to rise. lation. the implemencreating a land corridor from tation of a modern security sysBurkina Faso and Niger to tem. which allows Unitec with its Post-Cyber project direct and accurate control that will bring internet of expenditures. official administration and economic Since the split of the old Office of operators in general. traffic could choose the nearby ports of Lomé or Abidjan.” our borders will see an explosion in their development. it is the nation’s number one printing and graphics services firm.tries in the hinterland and even those that share LEADERS IN TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS In the words of Minister of achievement of service agreements. is “the promotion of our inteof added value can find opportunities grated services platforms and the with Unitec. a solid background in economy. Maersk Benin. and the construction and the Bight of Benin. Funding for an Access to General Director finance and management of both Markets program under the Port of Cotonou private sector and public works. means that in terms of including building two new quays trade its most vital element is the and executing a program to tackPort of Cotonou. for all private companies operating out of Port of Cotonou. packed and sealed within the Port area. Founded 20 years ago in Cotonou as a modest office furniture shop. relies on the port’s position as a trade corridor to Niger. is to be ready to meet the growth in traffic which should result from government promotion of the internal economy and the exports industry. An advocate of economic liberalism. the firm plans to build a container terminal just outside the port. Indeed. Over the years. Developing the port is a major job. the firm proOne of the primary aims of duced a series of models for the telecoms sector is to data processing booking provide more extensive and offices in the ports of cheaper telephone access. If the accompanying infrastructures are not put in place simultaneously. vector of community integration. Benin. B enin’s geographical position. has AGUESSY tize the port and its activities. Human resources are a vital element to improve the port’s efficiency. but requiring parallel efforts. this fully Beninese company now ranks among the 100 leading enterprises in the country. “If the port of Cotonou meets international standards without being competitive. and even toms and merchandise leaving their banking products to the greater popuports.6 million) and a permanent staff of 146 (plus 120 trainees and 30 part-time employees).” he explains. “This One of the company’s initial prois why we are working to create a safe jects was the installation of a webmail and encouraging legal environment for platform.

■ SUMMIT COMMUNICATIONS IN BENIN Project Director: Philippe van Maldeghem Project Coordinator: Catherine Louvrier Editorial Research: Julie de Pimodan For further information contact: SUMMIT COMMUNICATIONS 1040 First Avenue. The Route des Peches year. Revenue is increasing by 20-50% annually. and has a number of conference rooms. the internal tourism. NY 10022-2902 Tel: 1 (212) 286-0034 . “We need to further develop roaming in the region. “All our neighbors ought to interconnect so that people can travel throughout West Africa and make low-cost calls. The main problems he project will optimize 32km of faces are the lack of an ade. it is built West African regional econon Telecel’s success. relito increase visitor numbers gious. email. Demand for GSM is growing fast.MARCEL ANDEWEG shoreline from vibrant Cotonou quate legal framework to reg.” He describes Moov as a youthful brand. where ularize the sector and an Benin Marina Hotel the slave trade was based. a B The Benin Marina Hotel in Cotonou is a market leader in tourism. motional aspects required for the indusAfrican-Americans who may be able try. Benin Marina’s General Manager. and we it is the sector with the second have also included a number of tourism highest number of businesses in the coun. In terms of business tourism. one project seeks investPresident has earmarked the sector for ment for coach tour companies.Fax: 1 (212) 286-8376.” Subscriber growth and demand for GSM in the region are firing Moov’s 2007 objectives. nature and business from the current 170. improvtry. an international to trace their roots to Benin and its neighmarketing campaign creating the concept boring countries are one target market of Benin as a destination. Benin’s general manager Talibi leading player in the sector.such as the Royal Palaces of Abomey.” says Mr Toleba. Côte Moov’s success is based on the quality d’Ivoire and the Central African and coverage of its network. “Our main objective is to keep the leadership of the tourism sector in Benin. and our goal is for nationwide access. Suite 395. which Republic share the Moov logo. the Minister Toleba’s immediate priority is plans to develop cultural. Gabon. “With the launching Formerly Benin Telecel. crucially. regional affiliates in Togo. dynamic and. Benin. panAfrican. Subscriber growth in the region was 40% in 2006 and exceeds 100% in some countries. bought a 50% stake in company intends to launch a 3G service later this year.summitreports. the second is to continue improving the quality of the network.the ground. As a destination. elegance and high standards of service. in country ’s GDP.for the budding industry.” says omy than Moov. while margins are around 40%. or nature reserves like the Pendjari Park. The hotel is also involved in promoting Benin as a destination abroad. New York. and is the third highest provider of ing roads and transport to allow tourists jobs. Benin is also an untarnished tourism destination far removed from regional mass markets. but cultural sites motion of Benin’s numerous cultural. the insufficiency of pubic-private government hopes to prepare partnerships. particularly to African-Americans. should help to bring in tourists from the West and from the African sub-region. E-mail: info@summitreports.com An online version is available at www.SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION 7/ Benin TOURISM WITH A SPLASH OF INDIVIDUALITY An oasis of tranquility in a volatile region. such as meetings of the African Union. Because of this. major development on both There are many aspects of domestic and international the industry to be developed in fronts. Benin ranks fifth to move easily across the country. and General Manager company. and in Benin. in association with other industry operators. assisted by MCA funding for ing investment is vital to develop both land regulation. attract. Mr. and the third is to provide new services to make life better for our customers.” says Marcel Andeweg. Atlantique took the company’s helm in Moov Telecom. jointly with private operators. Haidra. downloads United Arab Emirates' partially stateof ring tones and other accessories. He says the secret of Burkina Faso. “We need to facilitate access to financial institutions for private entrepreneurs so that they can invest in the hotel busienin’s tourism industry brings in ness.” concludes Mr.General Manager to the town of Ouidah.com/benin TALKING ON THE MOOV IN WESTERN AFRICA IS THE WAY FORWARD Few companies better illusAtlantique Telecom in April trate the positive impact of 2005. coordinated re-branding Haidra joined what was then TALIBI HAIDRA campaign by its parent Benin Telecel in 2004. One hotel already welcoming businessmen and official visitors to the capital is the Benin Marina Hotel in Cotonou. Haidra. tourism ministry is already dealing with air comonly contributes around two percent to the panies for the reduction of air fares. despite these figures. logical and leisure attractions to its own population are expected to help build up trade. Mr Toleba is keen to create an infrastructure capable of hosting major regional and international events. “We are working $44. Its The decision to establish a single value-added services include MMS.in to create hotels and marine parks. and we want our subscribers to enjoy the same service as people in Europe or the United States. . UNESCO World Heritage site. WAP. the web browsing. Haidra highlights three objectives for 2007: “The first is to increase network coverage to 85%. The owned operator. things are Moov is in the midst of a really starting to happen.” Mr. Moov operates in a region with a combined population of 61 million people. already reaches 70% of the country. promoting Benin as a travel destination and enjoying a reputation for style. the Africa. the hotel is undergoing extensive refurbishment to maintain its well-known standards. but with a mobile penetration rate of less than 10%. In private hands since 2003. a UNESCO Biosphere reserve.” In out of the thirteen countries of Western terms of attracting foreign visitors.“Moov is now a movemobile telephony on the ment. eco. and then invite investors the physical infrastructures and the pro.projects in our own public works. of the Moov brand.5 million in revenues each year. For this latter aspect. At the same time.000 per tourism. regional brand came after Etisalat. Yet. that will see June 2005. Niger. Aside from the fine sand Minister of Tourism and Craft beaches for typical sea and Industries Soumanou Seibou sun vacations. and the pro.

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