Why did an important, well-supported plan for a national economic development statistics center in Bénin fail, ask the authors, and what broader lessons can we learn from this? Such statistics are the foundation of information policies supporting sustainable economic development and social welfare. As part of a larger African initiative, in 1982 such a center was established in Bénin, but over time it failed completely. The authors identify multiple exogenous and endogenous causes, some of which may have been avoidable. The fundamental lesson is that the technology employed came to be more valued than the information it was intended to produce.
Information scientist, Bureau d'Etudes et de Recherches en Science de l'information (BERSI), Republic of Bénin; doctoral student, Information and Library Sciences, University of Antwerp, Belgium.
Undergraduate student, Library and Information Science, Université d'Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Bénin. The authors are grateful to François Amètonou, the Head of the Department of Information Processing and Diffusion of the CENADI since its creation until he retired in 2003, for valuable input for this article and interviews in September 2010 and March 2013. The authors would also like to thank Mermoz Lidéhou, the current Head of the Records and Information Office of the Ministry of Planning.