Evolution and impacts of Benin's coastal land use: The case of the Sèmè-Podji Commune

Since the beginning of the 1990s, a new socio-economic dynamic has existed in the coastal commune of Sèmè-Podji. In a context of pressure exerted by neighbouring large cities, private actors have been buying large areas of land to establish commercial or industrial infrastructure and new homes, while political and administrative representatives have invested in large infrastructure projects. After a detailed description of this evolution, the study provides an economic evaluation of investments from the points of view of investors, the local population, and of the country as a whole, highlighting in particular the social risks encountered by the most vulnerable segments of the population. It then provides an analysis of local populations’ reactions and of possible alternatives for a new regulation of the land system.