Port Autonome de Cotonou – Sustainable Transformation of Vendor Livelihoods

For years, vendors sold food along the boulevard at the Port of Cotonou, facing safety risks from traffic and working in unhygienic conditions. To address these issues, the Port Authority initiated a community engagement program involving meetings and awareness campaigns with the vendors to address their needs and concerns.

Through this program, vendors were relocated to a new site near the port which opened in February 2024. The site features two 250-seat halls, 36 stores, 24 sales kiosks, a 12-seat secondary hall, and retail space. The facilities include covered sales stands, hygienic kitchens, toilets for all, running water, electricity, and daily waste removal services. The sales areas range from 3.4 to 12 square meters with some equipped with kitchens tailored to the type of service offered.

The Sustainable Transformation of Vendor Livelihoods project has not only improved the working conditions and provided financial stability by increasing customer access, but the the new location has also helped foster an inclusive community environment by encouraging more diverse clientele, including senior executive and dockworkers, to visit the premises. Furthermore, early results show that this move has led to a 20% increase in sales and the ongoing data collection aims to measure further impacts on incidents and waste reduction.

Before creating the new site, stakeholder consultations were held with vendors to discuss site organization and meal specialization, and post-relocation, meetings continue to address constraints and identify improvements. Awareness campaigns on health, safety, hygiene, fire safety, plastic reduction, and waste management were conducted, as well as clean-up campaigns every Sunday with all the vendors involved, helping to promote social cohesion and integration between the members.