Voters in Benin will elect a new president on Sunday during a run-off between prime minister Lionel Zinzou and business magnate Patrice Talon.
The new leader will replace outgoing President Yayi Boni who has come to the end of his two terms. He was elected in 2006 and has been an influential mediator in regional crisis.
Boni’s decision to quit power distinguishes him from many African leaders who have used such opportunities to change the constitution and remain in power.
My father, children, business, charity foundation have all been here.
Voters expect their next President to create new jobs for the youth.
Zinzou beat Talon by a tight margin (27.11 percent to 23.52 percent) during the first round of vote earlier this month.
61-year-old Franco-Beninese banker, Lionel Zinzou, was appointed Prime Minister last year after quiting his job as head of Europe’s biggest investment fund.
He has been quick to dismiss critics who claim he knows nothing about Benin. “My father, children, business, charity foundation have all been here,” Zinzou once said.
The rival candidate Patrice Talon is a popular entrepreneur who made money in the cotton sector.
Vendors hold campaign posters for presidential candidate Patrice Talon ahead of 2nd round of Benin's vote on Sunday pic.twitter.com/fWcekPXiQJ— Reuters Africa (@ReutersAfrica) March 19, 2016
He is now backed by 24 of the over 30 candidates from the first round including Sebastien Ajavon who won 22.07 percent of the vote.
Analysts say it is difficult to identify any clear favourite during Sunday’s poll.
Benin has been lauded for its transition from dictatorship to multi-party democracy.