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Ivory Coast to reduce cocoa output over next two years

Comments (0) Actualites, Agriculture, Business, Economy

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Ivory Coast’s Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC) will suspend programmes for the 2018-19 season that boost cocoa output, it said on Friday, aiming to reduce production in the face of global oversupply.

The marketing board plans to halt distribution of higher-grade seeds and plants by chocolate makers, including Mars and Nestle, that develop hybrid species that they pass on to farmers to increase yields.

Those programmes helped to increase output in the world’s top grower to record highs last year but added to a supply glut that has depressed prices worldwide.

“Given the increase in global cocoa supply and falling prices since 2016/17, the CCC has decided to carry out a census of the coffee and cocoa orchards,” the CCC said in a statement. It did not say when the census would begin.

“Pending the finalisation of this census, we inform you of our decision to temporarily suspend any distribution of improved plant material, seeds, cuttings, etc, from the 18/19 season.”

Output in Ivory Coast has risen from 1.6 million tonnes 10 years ago to 2 million tonnes in the 2016-17 season because of higher yields, but global demand has failed to meet supply. The CCC expects production for the 2017-18 season to slip to 1.9 million tonnes, partly because of bad weather.

High-level sources at the CCC said the organisation wants to try to reduce output to between 1.7 million tonnes and 1.8 million tonnes over the next two years, affecting exporters and chocolate makers that also include Ferrero, Cargill, Olam, Cemoi and Cocoa Barry.

“Our goal is to control our production because these last 10 years, it is these programmes initiated by chocolatiers … that increased our production from 1.6 million to 2 million (tonnes),” a CCC source said.

Separately, the CCC has begun a three-year programme to uproot 300,000 hectares of cocoa infected by swollen shoot since January. The CCC source said that 25,000 hectares have been cleared already, which will also help to reduce growing capacity in the coming years.


(Reporting Ange Aboa; Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Jason Neely and David Goodman)

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The Ivory Coast looks to double its hydrocarbon production by 2020

Comments (1) Africa, Business, Featured

ivory coast offshore oil

The Ivory Coast, plans to double its production of hydrocarbons by 2020.

The Ivory Coast boasts one of the region’s most reliable power grids, which allows the nation to export energy to its neighbors. However, a recent economic boom in the already thriving Ivorian markets has seen the demand for energy rocket. The ever-growing demand for more energy has meant that the Ivory Coast has set itself the ambitious goal of doubling its hydrocarbon production by 2020.

The numbers behind the headline

While doubling production could be quite achievable for a nation only just embarking upon the mining of newly discovered resources, the Ivory Coast has a well-established hydrocarbon industry, in which 70% of its resources are already used up by electricity production.

The obvious questions are whether doubled production is realistic, and just what needs to be achieved if the aim is to be met. In simple terms, it means an increase from around 100,000 BOE (barrels of oil equivalent) per year, to roughly 200,000 of annual production by 2020.

Despite this seeming a large undertaking, the Ivory Coast has every reason to be confident. The recent history of its hydrocarbon industries shows hugely impressive growth, and there are plans in place to help realize its goal. From 2012 to 2013, the Ivory Coast doubled its natural gas output, reaching 220 million cubic feet per day. By 2014, this was 250 million cubic feet per day – mainly produced by the Ivorian company, Foxtrot International.

The state oil company Petroci is also working with Foxtrot and GDF Suez to ensure that natural gas contributes even further to the Ivory Coast’s energy needs. Foxtrot committed almost $1 billion over a 5 year period, in 2013, to increase gas production annually.

Petroci itself has also made marked inroads in expanding oil production, increasing its production from around 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2014 to a 2015 high of 53,000 bpd. Such increases, in both gas and oil, indicate that the nation is well on target to meet its grand scheme of doubling total production across the field.

Confidence in development

Foxtrot International worker

Foxtrot International worker

While the aforementioned figures are impressive, the government’s supervisor of hydrocarbon exploration and production, Ousmane Doukouré, reported that the first half of 2016 has seen oil extraction at around 45,000 bpd. While this is still a marked improvement on 2014 figures, it is down from last year’s figure. However, investment, foreign assistance, and as yet untapped resources all provide confidence.

Petroci’s Managing Director, Ibrahima Diaby, spoke at an energy conference in the country’s capital, Yamoussoukro, and indicated the scope for development. Diaby spoke on off-shore gas reserves in the country, saying, “Today we have around 60 blocks. We’ve awarded about 20.”

Companies such as Exxon Mobil and Total are working on exploration within the Ivory Coast, and in addition to outside support, the Ivorian government has pledged $3.3 billion to boost oil production over the next 5 years.

For many years, the Ivorian government focused its development efforts on the agricultural industry, and as such energy was somewhat ignored. With a concerted effort from both the government and private companies, the resource rich nation is likely to grow its output exponentially. Diaby said the outcome of the nations increased gas and oil production would boost electricity by 80% over the next 6 years.

Foxtrot International began digging 7 new gas wells in 2014, and installed a new platform at its Marlin gas field in 2015. With major international oil and gas companies invested in developing the nation’s energy infrastructure, Diaby was confident in saying, “With the current exploration, our ambition is to reach 200,000 BOE (barrels of oil equivalent) in 2020.”

Wisely, there are additional angles to meeting the Ivory Coast’s growing energy needs. Aside from the ramped up production of domestic hydrocarbon resources, Diaby also told journalists that the country would begin importing liquefied natural gas (LNG), to help supplement the gas needs of some its power plants. These imports are scheduled to begin in 2018, and the Texas based company, Endeavor Energy, confirmed that it was aiming to secure a $900 million gas-driven power project within the Ivory Coast.

If such developments continue, West Africa’s largest economy may soon become as known for its power production as its famous cocoa exporting.

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South Africa’s Standard Bank awarded banking license in Ivory Coast

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Standard Bank has been awarded a banking license in Ivory Coast, one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, extending its reach to 20 countries on the continent, the lender said on Monday.

“Standard Bank – trading as Stanbic Bank – has been formally awarded a banking license in Côte d’Ivoire,” it said in a statement, adding that it was gearing up to commence banking operations but did not give a timeframe.


(Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by James Macharia)

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Ivorian cocoa arrivals down around 10 pct by July 3 vs last season

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Cocoa arrivals at ports in top grower Ivory Coast reached around

1,412,000 tonnes by July 3 since the start of the season on October 1, 2015, exporters estimated on Monday, down from 1,575,000 tonnes in the same period the previous season.

Exporters estimated around 18,000 tonnes of beans were delivered to the West African state’s two ports of Abidjan and San Pedro between June 27 and July 3, down from 29,000 tonnes during the same period last year.


(Reporting by Ange Aboa; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Louise Heavens)

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Ivorian government to reduce export taxes for cocoa products

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – The Ivorian government has announced reduced export taxes for cocoa products in a bid to encourage production and processing in the West African country.

Taxes on exports of cocoa butter will fall to 11 percent from 14.6 percent and taxes on cocoa mass will drop to 13.2 percent from 14.6 percent, the government said.

The export tax on cocoa powder will fall to 9.6 percent from 14.6 percent.

Also, trading houses such as Cocoa Barry, Olam and Cargill will be able to increase their processing capacity by 7.5 percent. Smaller processors will be able to expand by 10-15 percent.

The changes are pending formal contracts to be signed between processors and the government.





(Reporting by Ange Aboa; writing by Edward McAllister; editing by Jason Neely)

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Coca-Cola looks to expand its investment in The Ivory Coast

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Featured

Coca Cola Ivory Coast

Coca-Cola has invested more money into its already substantial holdings in The Ivory Coast.

The multinational giant that is Coca-Cola is no stranger to emerging markets and has never been afraid to take its eponymous leading brand to new shores. Africa is actually not a new market for Coca-Cola, as the company has promoted and sold its carbonated drinks on the continent for some time. However, with the Ivory Coast showing particularly robust economic growth, Coca-Cola has decided to increase its level of involvement with the West African nation.

Rather than simply viewing the country as a revenue stream of sales, Coca-Cola now intend to invest in the Ivory Coast as a source of production for both raw materials and fruit juice. It is a move that makes logistical and economic sense.

Improving company image

Through the sponsorship of football tournaments, heavy advertising and socially responsible welfare projects, Coca-Cola has already established itself as a familiar brand name across Africa, and the Ivory Coast is no exception. In fact, the capital city of Abidjan has been home to Coca-Cola’s headquarters for export in West Africa for several years. This office oversees export to 11 African nations and Coca-Cola brands are popular across West Africa. The recognition of the brand has been strengthened by co-operative efforts with major aid organizations that have helped Coca-Cola establish a reputation of responsibility.

At a time when sugary, carbonated drinks are being heavily criticized in the west, it has been hugely beneficial to attach the Coca-Cola name to programs such as the Fresh Water Program that was launched in conjunction with the USAID in 2005. This program sought to help provide greater access to clean, running water for communities from Western, Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2007, Coca-Cola upped its investment in the program, making the joint enterprise worth $10 million.

Coca Cola Africa Foundation

Coca Cola Africa Foundation

As many of the products are youth driven, it has also made economic as well as humanitarian sense to target young people for particular support. Coca-Cola developed its own body, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, to help provide funding and support for projects like HOPE worldwide that support vulnerable children in impoverished African regions.

Even a cynic would have to admit that such funding is beneficial, regardless of whether the motive is altruistic or for public image. But the reality is that the people within The Ivory Coast and surrounding nations are still very poor and national, economic growth is needed to help them work their way out of this poverty.

Opening up new opportunities

It is therefore a significant step forward, when a company with the reach of Coca-Cola announces that it will be looking to include local resources as part of its production chain. This opens up potentially huge streams of income for local farmers and other agricultural workers.

The Ivory Coast is one of the main producers of pineapples in Africa and as recently as 2014, Coca-Cola launched its Minute Maid brand of juice drinks on the continent. The president of Coca-Cola Eurasia & Africa, Nathan Kalumbu, confirmed that the company would be investing in the fruit farming of The Ivory Coast and looking to produce significant amounts of its juice there.

The Ivory Coast’s President, Alassane Ouattara, has greeted the news positively and states that he hopes such investment will lead other corporations to treat the nation with “some confidence.”

In addition, to the commitment to pineapple juice and other fruit products, Ouattara hopes that Coca-Cola’s investment will provide income to other areas of Ivorian industry. It is a hope that looks to be realized, as Mr. Kalumbu confirmed that Coca-Cola would be looking to source other raw materials for its products inside The Ivory Coast.

After all, the country is the world’s largest producer of the Kola Nut, which was traditionally a major ingredient in the drink. Although, the nut is not commonly used in most Cola production today, there is no reason why it could not be used to produce much of Africa’s supply of the drink as it was only replaced in many markets due to more readily available alternatives.

The Ivory Coast stands to reap a large reward from Coca-Cola’s commitment, to expand, within Africa and according to Kalumbu; this commitment will total a staggering $17 billion between 2010 and 2020.

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Ivory Coast president calls for break-up of power, water monopolies

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Ivory Coast will break up its long-standing electricity and water monopolies and introduce competition to reduce prices amid growing public concern over price increases, President Alassane Ouattara said.

The government decided in June last year to increase electricity prices by 16 percent over three years to keep pace with production costs.

Under the arrangement electricity prices were scheduled to increase by 5 percent in January. But some customers saw rates rise by as much as 40 percent, according to a government investigation, prompting Ouattara to cancel the January increases and call for a more competitive industry.

“This situation reminds us of the need to open up the water and electricity sectors to competition,” Ouattara, a former senior International Monetary Fund official, said in a Labour Day speech on national television on Sunday.

“It is competition that will lower the price of electricity. I appeal to all those who wish to invest in that sector,” he said.

The West African nation has emerged from a decade of political turmoil and civil war as one of the continent’s rising stars economically, with growth averaging around 9 percent for the past four years.

However, critics of the government complain that most Ivorians have not benefited from the new-found prosperity.

During his re-election campaign last year Ouattara promised to make economic growth more inclusive.

The Companie Ivoirienne d’Electricite (CIE), majority owned by Africa-focused public utilities manager Eranove Group, has supplied electricity to the Ivory Coast since 1990 under an agreement with the government. The deal, which puts CIE in charge of the distribution of power to homes and businesses, is not due to expire until 2020.

It is unclear how the utility markets will be liberalised or if it can be done before the agreement between CIE and the government ends in 2020.

But it is likely to be a major issue in French-speaking West Africa’s biggest economy where power producers are struggling to keep pace with growing consumption.

Demand for electricity is rising by some 10 percent a year, and the energy minister said last year that $20 billion of investment is needed in the industry over the next 15 years.

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Ivory Coast mid-crop cocoa harvest hit by poor weather

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Latest Updates from Reuters

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Purchases of cocoa in Ivory Coast’s mid-crop season that starts in April have ground to a halt because of a lack of rain and harsh winds that have also hit quality, farmers and buyers said.

Forecasts for the April-October mid crop say it could drop to between 380,000 and 390,000 tonnes, a 24 percent fall from 502,000 tonnes in the same harvest last year, according to several trading houses and cocoa producers.

The West African country is the world’s biggest producer of cocoa, with output of around 1.8 million tonnes per year, of which the mid-crop represents about 30 percent. Dry weather has already reduced forecasts for the 2015-2016 season to around 1.6 million.

Many exporters have reduced or stopped buying altogether as a lack of rain has made beans smaller and twice as acidic as usual.

“The quality is … at a level where we would prefer not to buy at the moment,” said the director of an exports company in Abidjan, who declined to be identified. “We will see in June if that changes.”

Only seven of more than 100 accredited operators have bought beans and opened their factories so far. About 80 percent of exporting companies have stopped buying, exporters said.

On Monday exporters bought 2,800 tonnes of cocoa in the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro, down significantly from the normal haul of 20,000 tonnes.

While smaller beans may be bought by local grinders instead of exported, they produce more acidity and less butter than larger ones, forcing grinders to purchase more for the same result. Acidity levels, or FFA, stood at 3.5 percent against a usual level of 1.75 percent, exporters said.

As a result, grinders have largely foregone purchases so far this mid-crop season, opting to wait for any improvements in the crop that may appear toward the end of the harvest.

Recent rain in the main cocoa-growing regions was too late to affect the development of pods on the trees, farmers said.

“We are happy with the rain’s return, but it’s too late for the production,” said Salomon Lohami, who owns a seven-acre cocoa plantation in Kahin. “If it was January or February, that could change the harvest, but not at this point.”


(By Ange Aboa. Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and David Holmes)

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The African CEO Forum 2016

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Featured


The first African CEO Forum Awards held within the continent sees new awards and renewed progress.

The 2016 African CEO Forum and its accompanying award ceremony was a benchmark event in the forum’s 4 year history. Taking place from March 21st to the 22nd, this was the first time the business networking event was held within Africa. The Ivory Coast was chosen to play host to the annual conference of African CEO’s, bankers and developers that aims to continue the continent’s economic growth and innovation.

“We concluded deals worth $30 million”.

Since the inaugural forum of 2012, investors and business figures from across Africa have used the event to form new commercial opportunities, broker deals and establish a stronger network of communication and development among the men and women who are steering African development through the 21st Century.

Official figures indicate that since the first edition of the CEO forum, 70% of all participants have come away having identified new business ventures or actually concluded new deals, with the likes of Felix Bipko of the African Guarantee Fund, finalizing deals worth $30 million in only the first year of the forum’s existence.

The Ivory Coast – progress in the face of adversity

After the third edition of the African CEO Forum broke all attendance records, the 2016 conference aimed to not only break old records but break new ground in bringing the forum to African soil for the first time. The Ivory Coast seemed an obvious choice given that it is seen as the driving force behind the integration of the 15 nations that make up the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), an area that has had the highest economic growth in Africa over the past 5 years.

African CEO Forum founder and President, Amir Ben Yahmed explained the choice of the host nation further:

“[W]e have chosen a country and a region that is showing clear signs of robust economic development. The fact that the African Development Bank is based there …was a further contributing factor.”

However, when terrorist attacks shook the nation on March 14th, the event seemed in jeopardy. But a strong united stance from both the organizers and key political figures within Africa ensured that progress and development continued to triumph over individuals trying to use fear to derail stability.

“We continue our mission.”  – Amir Ben Yahmed

A resolute stance was immediately taken in the wake of the attacks as the organizers made it clear that the event would go ahead and a strong message of solidarity was sent when the respective presidents of The Ivory Coast and Ghana, Alassane Ouattara and Dramani Mahama, confirmed their attendance.

With over 800 participants from across Africa, the forum was a triumph that continues to grow and open up new horizons for African commerce and trade.

The 2016 event added to the existing structure of debates and meetings by introducing new “Deal Rooms” that allow smaller meetings between investors and company owners to forge new links, exchange ideas on fostering growth of their businesses and to put pen to paper on new deals.

“Our future is bright and belongs to us all” – Oba Otudeko.

As always, the forum hosted its annual award ceremony in which a panel of carefully selected figures within African business select the winners of various awards from African CEO of the year to Private Equity Investor of the Year. This year also saw a new award for Young CEO of the year.

Oba Otudeko of the Honeywell Group won CEO of the Year and accepted the award from one of the forum’s major sponsors, Jay Ireland, CEO of General Electric Africa.

Sebastien Kadio-Morokro of Petro-Ivoire was awarded the maiden Young CEO of the Year by Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

Dangote Group won the African Company of the Year and was presented with their trophy by African CEO Forum President Amir Ben Yahmed.

BGFI Bank was awarded with the African Bank of the Year accolade by Adama Koné, the Ivorian Minister of Economy and Finance.

Emerging Capital Partners took home the prize for the Private Equity Investor of the Year, and were presented with the title by Cheikh Oumar Seydi, the regional director of the International Finance Corporation.

Heineken were rewarded with the title of International Corporation of the Year.

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Laughing Cow goes to Africa

Comments (0) Africa, Business, Featured

laughing cow africa

Bel Group, the third largest cheese-maker in the world increases sales and production on the continent, including a new pre-fabricated factory in Ivory Coast to produce The Laughing Cow cheese.

Bel Group, the world’s third largest cheese-maker and producer of popular The Laughing Cow cheese (La Vache qui Rit), launched a miniaturized production operation in Ivory Coast in an innovative pre-fabricated factory.

The French cheese-maker, which also has production plants in Morocco and Algeria, has found a growing market in Africa, selling more than two billion single-serving portions of Laughing Cow cheese in 2015.

The new plant in Abidjan, which began production in December 2015, was designed, assembled and tested at Bel Group’s research center in Vendome, France before it was shipped as a kit to the Ivory Coast in 14 containers. The factory was constructed “like a Lego,” said Bel CEO Antoine Fievet.

Company miniaturizes production process

Before designing the plant, Bel Group spent three years figuring out how to miniaturize its production process so that it could prefabricate plants as it seeks to grow its local operations in key markets where import processes are expensive or cumbersome.

The Abidjan plant, located in the industrial area of Yopougon, will produce 100,000 portions of cheese daily for sale in Ivory Coast, Bel said. The 4,200-square-meter plant, which cost $3.4 million, can manufacture 20 million cheese servings annually.

Bel patents factory design

“This unique plant once again demonstrates the expertise of Bel in miniaturization and the innovation capacity of our industrial teams,” Hubert Mayet, Bel director general of industrial operations and technology, research and innovation, said.

Mayet said the plant employed 12 people with an expansion to 20 planned for 2016.

Bel will import raw material for producing cheese, Bel said. “If success is to go, we can easily increase the size of the plant and will launch other products,” Fievet said.

Bell called the pre-fabricated factory “unprecedented in the cheese industry. Bel, which has patented the concept out of fear that competitors might copy it, said pre-fabricated factories could soon be deployed in other key market locations.

Plants in Morocco, Algeria

In addition to the new plant in Ivory Coast, Bel employs a total of 3,500 people in factories in North Africa and Egypt. Bel Group also has operations in Turkey and Iran, and the company operated in Syria until civil war broke out.

In Morocco, Bel cheese is the market leader, selling brands including The Laughing Cow, Kiri and the Children.

The company in August 2015 acquired a nearly 70 percent stake in one of Morocco’s largest dairies, Salfilait, which processes and sells fresh milk and dairy products under the brand name Jibal.

Bel Group CEO Antoine Fievet said “Bel is proud of its success in Morocco built with the help of historical local partners. The group welcomes this new partnership with renowned a Moroccan industry and responds fully to its strategic development goal.” He called the two companies “close cousins.”

Tangier plant launched in 1970s

Bel has operated in Morocco since the 1970s with a plant in Tangiers that employs about 1,500 people.

In Algeria, Bel employs about 1,000 people at a production facility in Algiers. It established the operation Bel Algeria operation in 2001.

Bel is the third largest cheese-maker in the word after Lactalis and Kraft.

Founded in 1865 in France, Bel, now headquartered in Paris, has 28 production plants worldwide and distributes its products in 133 countries, including 44 countries in Africa.

laughing cow

400 million customers

According to Bel, 400 million consumers globally partake of its cheeses each year and 10 million portions are consumed each day. In addition to The Laughing Cow, major brands include Kiri, Mini Babybel, Boursin and Leerdammer.

Bell also launched operations in the United States, opening a plant in Brookings, South Dakota with capacity to produce 20,000 tons of cheese a year in order to meet strong U.S. demand for Mini Babybel cheese. Bel Groups sales in the United States increased by 40 percent between 2013 and 2015.

World-wide, the company reported sales of nearly $4 billion in 2014, an increase of more than 20 percent from the year before.

In 2015, Bel reported a revenue increase of nearly 6 percent to nearly $4.2 billion.

International markets accounted for much of that group with increases of 29 percent in the Americas and Asia. Net income increased by 50 percent to $205 million.

Large share of company growth in Africa

Bel said about 63 percent of the company’s growth in volume came from Africa in 2015, which saw an increase in sales of 8 percent on the African continent, generating $475 million in revenue.

The company has operated in Africa for more than 50 years and sees the continent as a further growth area for sales.

”Bel is already a leader in Africa, but the continent still offers numerous untouched markets worth exploring,” the company said.

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