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Azelis eyes African middle class with Ivory Coast investment

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Niamh Michail

By Niamh Michail+

Last updated on 05-Jan-2017 at 14:58 GMT2017-01-05T14:58:07Z

© iStock
© iStock

Ingredients specialist Azelis has set its sights on Africa’s growing middle class with a new import and distribution office in the Ivory Coast.

The office, located in the country’s administrative capital, Abidjan, will initially focus on food and health ingredients but plans to expand into agriculture and horticulture.

Its portfolio includes ingredients for home and personal care, industrial cleaning, pharmaceuticals, animal feed as well as food- and nutrition-specific ingredients which cover emulsifiers, flavours and colours, stabilisers, sweeteners, fats and oils and vitamins.

Azelis has been implanted in Africa since June 2015 when it founded its first subsidiary in Morocco but it is keen to expand its reach across the region.

Benoit Fritz, regional managing director for France and Africa said: “Ivory Coast is uniquely positioned with a strong outlook for future growth. We will leverage [our] application knowledge and technical expertise to develop solutions that are relevant to the local market needs and unmet demands.”

Michael Haidon, managing director of Azelis Ivory Coast who will be heading up the Abidjan office said: “We will employ local technical people, have a local warehouse and application laboratory and focus on local customers, enabling us to meet the increasing demand from the emerging middle class.”

Azelis was formed following the 2001 merger between of Italian firm Novorchem and French specialty ingredient distributor Arnaud. 

It has 30 labs and technical centres around the world and in 2015 reported sales worth €1.5 billion.

With a growing middle class, relatively stable political environment and government injections into infrastructure, the Ivory Coast has an increasingly attractive climate for foreign investment.

Its economy enjoyed a 9% growth rate in 2015, according to the World Bank, with the extractive, finance and communications sectors making the biggest contributions to the country's economic growth.

But its growing wealth is far from evenly distributed. Despite being Africa's fourth biggest importer of champagne, according to the French trade association, Comité Champagne, its per-capita income in 2015 was $1,319 (€1,256), according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with the majority of Ivorians employed in agriculture.

According to United Nations statistics, the Ivory Coast's main trading partners for exports are the Netherlands, the US and South Africa while Nigeria, France and China top the list for imported goods.

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