Benin: An overview of Complant Sugar Company in Benin (SUCOBE)

Complant is a Chinese transnational corporation that currently operates the Savè Factory, which was jointly established in 1973 by Benin and Nigeria.

From 1973 to 1981, management of the factory was under the Save Sugar Company (SSS), and it saw an interruption of business for over six years due to mismanagement and the period of economic crisis. From 1988-1991 activities were revived under the management of Agrimatec. From 1991-2003, there was a conservation period during which the state of Benin tried to restart production with own funds – providing  equity. From 2003 to today, the factory is on concession to SUCOBE, Complant.

Its activities are the production and processing of sugar cane into sugar and the elaboration of alcohol. The company uses sugar cane, and cassava chips for alcohol as raw materials.

At peak period, there are about 5,000 workers, including 363 contract workers with eight women. There are 4,637 casual and seasonal workers, mostly of them women.

The plant is modernizing technology. Sugar produced is exported, while alcohol is sold for use by health facilities in Benin.

The IUF Coordination in Benin implemented at the beginning of this year an inspection visit to SUCOBE, to look into the working conditions of members of the SYNTRASA, the union of  sugar and alcohol workers, affiliated to the IUF. The visit also aimed at seeking solutions to problems associated with working conditions.

Complant currently operates six sugar companies in Africa, based on lease agreements. The units are in Togo (1), Madagascar (3), Benin (1), and Sierra Leone (1). Last year, it completed the acquisition of three sugar factories in Jamaica and the long-term lease of 30,000 hectares. Complant became the largest sugar company in Jamaica, and has plans to dominate the sugar refined sector in the Caricom (Caribbean Community).

With the contribution of Guillaume Tossa, IUF Coordinator in Benin.

Read the original article in French here.

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1 comment

    • oloo norbert on August 25, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Hi. Tossa,
    This is a good piece of information. You must keep watch on Chinese investments, they are not known to be good employers. Good in the sense that they respect employment regulations let alone human rights.We in Kenya have experienced Chines investers and employers in the name of export processing zones, but the story is one that is full mistreatment of worker, especially sexual harassment.
    Keep us posted for solidarity,
    Norbert Ooo,
    Sugar Union of Kenya (KUSPAW)

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