More about Benin: Expert talk with André Rönne

What better way to learn more about a country than talking with someone on site? While for many of us Benin used to be a country we hadn’t much knowledge about, in recent months we have become minor experts on certain topics.

Nevertheless, it is a challenge to represent a country which one has never set foot in. Therefore we are very grateful that on January 9, we had the great opportunity to talk with André Rönne via Zoom. He has been active in the West African region for many years and is now the Country Director at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) for Benin. He offered interesting insights on the current situation in Benin as both an expert on the region but also a person experiencing the country and its people first hand. He for example explained how the country has slowly experienced economic growth under different reforms but on the other hand for example free speech is facing obstacles today. Especially interesting was also to hear about the relationship to the former colonial power France as Benin’s “best hated friend” with strong economic and political ties remaining.

We were able to ask all sort of questions connected to the different committee topics we will be discussing at NMUN in New York including for example topics around nuclear energy, freedom of expression, tourism, children- and human rights, cultural heritage, support for refugees and environmental sustainability. The expert talk helped us to get a better overall understanding of what life in Benin looks like and we also heard some interesting fun facts: Did you for example know that Benin, apart from Haiti, is the only country in the world recognizing voodoo as an official religion?

We thank André Rönne for taking the time to support us on our way to prepare for NMUN !

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