Reinvent the lake city of Ganvié.

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Nicknamed « the Venice of Africa », Ganvié is a lakeside town located on Lake Nokoué, north of Cotonou. By developing its tourism potential, in order to offer visitors an authentic, atypical and original experience, the government also intends to improve the living conditions of the populations.

Reinventing the lake city of Ganvié is the ambitious objective shared by the Beninese government and AFD to preserve and enhance the cultural heritage of this centuries-old city, included in the indicative list of UNESCO world heritage sites, while sustainably improving the living conditions of its populations.


The population of Benin rose in 2017 to 11.2 million inhabitants. The country’s population is expected to double by 2030, and more than 50% of it will live in urban centers in the south of the country. In a context of uncontrolled urbanization, the social demand for education, health, housing, employment and urban management is more and more pressing.

The “Venice of Africa”, the lakeside city of Ganvié represents a recognized symbol of Beninese identity and, despite an inexistent organization of buildings and an anarchic deployment for lack of planning, the city remains a unique tourist destination in the sub-region. region. Ganvié residents suffer from very poor access to services essential populations specific to precarious neighborhoods and a landlocked isolation of the territory, but also from the rapid degradation of the ecosystem of Lake Nokoué on which they depend.
By reconnecting the city to nearby urban centers, by developing the center of Ganvié, by supporting economic activities, in particular for women, the project aims at balanced development of the territory.


The project is structured in four components :

  • reconnect Ganvié, including the construction of a road suitable for floods serving the north of the city and the construction of a logistics platform, the rehabilitation of the Abomey-Calavi pier (structured around the activities of women fish sellers) , construction of pedestrian crossings, and dredging of channels
  • improve living conditions, with the connection of the Ganvié lake areas to the national electricity network, to the supply of drinking water, the rehabilitation of community spaces / public spaces, including the Maison de la Francophonie, to strengthen the center of the city
  • contribute to the development and diversification of resources from Lake Nokoué, on the Ganvié scale
  • support the implementation of the project.


The general objective of the project is to improve the living conditions of the populations of the precarious districts of Ganvié, and to encourage the valorization and the diversification of the resources from Lake Nokoué. At the same time, it will also involve strengthening the institutions and beneficiaries to conduct this type of integrated urban project.

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