• “Made in Ivory Coast” in vogue

“Made in Ivory Coast” in vogue

As the world’s largest cocoa producer, the Ivory Coast had, over forty years, not been able to offer tablets and other chocolate-based products made entirely in the country. But today it can achieve this ambition, and not just chocolate. Report in Abidjan.


By D.B.M 


Far from the hustle and bustle of downtown, on the crested district of Marcory, Playce, a new shopping center, inaugurated in December 2015, of 20,000 m2 with more than fifty stores, including a Carrefour supermarket, the owner of the premises with his partner CFAO. In the supermarket stalls, there were products and brands usually offered by Carrefour stores. But not only. In the fresh product stall, you could find cereals, ground ginger, or dried fish … “We find all the fruits of the Ivorian land here!” said one of the sellers, with enthusiasm., also the famous chocolate “made in Ivory Coast”. There were also tablets, spread, chocolate powder … and several brands, including those of the chocolate maker Cémoi who recently set up a cocoa bean processing plant in Yopougon. This is clearly pleasing. In the aisles of the supermarket, the “housewife” is at the appointments and fills her caddy. Meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables … Local as well as imported products. A masterpiece of the farmer who stands out from the other business centers which are inceasing in the Ivorian economic capital.

For its first establishment in sub-Saharan Africa, the leader of the sbusiness centers played the “local” card. “I expected to find the products that are usually found in France, but no, there are many more local products,” said an “expat”, slightly disappointed. Conversely, the new middle class appreciates. “These are products we usually find in the markets, confirmed a young Abidjan executive, but here they are better presented, there is more guarantee on the quality and the respect of sanitation conditions … and the design is still more pleasant.”

Carrefour: more than 170 contracts signed with local suppliers

“Playce Marcory is the showcase of a new generation of business centers in Africa offering in a destination more choices, more modernity and more attractiveness, said Xavier Desjobert, Managin director of CFAO Retail at the inauguration ceremony. Thanks to our partnership with Carrefour and its 15 international brands, we are proud to offer Ivory Coast consumers a greater variety of quality products. We want to create value in each of our eight countries by transforming locally, structuring sectors and supporting local references”. Thus, more than 170 contracts have been signed with local suppliers in food or textiles.

Promotion of ” products made in Ivory Coast “, inside and outside

This was in keeping with the will of the government, which is carrying out a strategy to promote “products made in Ivory Coast “, both inside and outside the country. In this context the ” ivory cocoa” label was launched in March 2016 in Paris, on the sidelines of the 53rd Paris International Agricultural Show (SIA 2016). The same day, an agreement was signed between the Ivorian government, the chocolate trade union, and the French chocolate and confectioners’ federation – which produces 25% of the world’s chocolate – and which promotes Ivorian cocoa and its derivatives. “You can not make chocolate without adding Ivorian cocoa, so it’s time for Ivorian producers to benefit from the added value that has been created,” said the Ivorian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, adding taht: with this label, “the consumers will make a difference and this will improve the income of the producers”. As a reminder, with an annual output of 1.75 million tonnes, the Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of cocoa, with around 40% of the market share. A sector that accounts for 15% of GDP and directly or indirectly feeds more than 7 million people, which shows the importance of valuing their work. 

Operations for labels

During marketing operations, the national authorities increasingly organize trade shows abroad to “sell” the “Ivory Coast” product. Its chocolate but also its attiéké (cassava semolina), a true emblem of the Ivorian food but now imported from Senegal, Mali or China, which has become the world’s leading producer! What to make cringe in the Elephants. The decision to protect the rights of this name by a patent, was adopted by the council of ministers on August 3 in Abidjan. The battle is launched! Like others … Starting with the promotion of quality products. Another label, “the African Consumer Label”, was launched by a private organization, Coussen & Associés consulting, last December, to make a difference between “the products and services considered by the consumers as innovative and satisfactory” according to its initiator, Manuella Coussen. 

This shows a growing awareness among domestic consumers, especially the middle class. “With all businesses, contaminated milk from China, polluted fish, outdated medicines … The Ivorian, who has changed his consumption habits – more urban – is more demanding on the quality of the products he buys and on their origins, confirmed a shopkeeper settled in “Playce”, another shopping center that opened in Riviera, in the city of Cocody. On the other hand, there are many more imported products. “It’s because all the shops have not yet opened,” continued the shopkeeper. In August, at the inauguration, they were not ready. They will arrive in September” with “made in Ivory Coast” as promised. This should stimulate the industrial sector, as well as the processing policy promoted by the public authorities. By 2020, as promised by Alassane Ouattara, in 2014, the Ivory Coast should no longer export crude raw materials, or at least to a lesser extent. It was also necessary to promote local production. The process is underway …


Auteur : D.B.M // Photo : Usine Cémoi d’Abidjan © DR


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