food + bev tec West Africa

West Africa‘s food & beverage technology imports increase by 16.7% to 623 million euros in 2018

Enormous population growth and high sustainable investments in its food industry

Source: VDMA / Graph: fairtrade 2019
  • According to the German Engineering Federation VDMA, West Africa imported food & beverage technology worth 623 million euros in 2018.
  • A plus of 16.7% compared to 534 million euros in 2017 and an annual growth of 7.8% between 2015 and 2018.
  • Good to know: The major West African markets - apart from Nigeria - are Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, Mauretania, Burkina Faso, Mali and Togo, in this order.
  • Due to its high and sustained investment in its food industry and its immense population of 388 million, which according to the United Nations will increase to over 700 million by 2050, it is all too likely that ECOWAS - The Economic Community of West African States will become the number one import region of food technology in Africa within the next years. A position the region is likely to take in the long term.

Côte d'Ivoire is becoming the bread basket of West Africa

Côte d'Ivoire is becoming the bread basket of West Africa. Agriculture and the food industry, especially in Abidjan, have been very dynamic for years, both in production and processing. Further investments will follow. Both sectors also enjoy a prominent regional position. They supply not only the domestic market but also the other francophone countries of the region, such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Niger, Togo and Benin.

The increasing demand for food throughout the region and the good general economic situation in Côte d'Ivoire continue to offer positive prospects for suppliers of food and packaging technology.

The French-speaking West Africa is a rather homogenous market of about 110 million inhabitants, which is growing by more than 3 million people every year. With the exception of Guinea, all countries use the franc CFA franc, which is linked to the euro. The currency facilitates not only the overseas export of machinery from Europe and Asia to Abidjan, but also the export of food within the French-speaking countries of West Africa.

Food industry in Abidjan increases its production capacities

Investments will continue to flow into increasing the capacity of the local food industry. The Abidjan industrial zones of Youpogon and Vridi are home to a large number of food producers. These include international companies such as Heineken (Brassivoire), Nestlé and local producers such as Carré d'Or (water, tomato paste, packaging), Professional Food Industry (cocoa to confectionery processors), Unifood (confectionery) and Codinorm (imported milk powder processors).

Following the major investments of recent years, the beverage market in particular is now experiencing cut-throat competition. Since Heineken and the French distributor CFAO inaugurated their brewery Brassivoire in 2017, the former monopolist Castel, with its Société de limonaderies et brasseries d'Afrique (Sobibra), has had to fight for the market and expand its product range. Providers in particular have very good opportunities here.

Expanding retail needs high-quality food

Rising demand for high-quality locally produced food is likely to result from the rapidly expanding Ivorian retail trade. With the construction of several shopping centres, Abidjan has become the most attractive shopping metropolis along Africa's west coast in the last four years or so. The latter major investment was the opening of the Playce shopping centre in Abidjan with the French supermarket chain Carrefour as the largest tenant. The malls targeting the middle class offer additional sales areas, especially for more expensive and fresh food.

In addition, Ivorian agriculture produces so-called cash crops for the world markets. The country is one of the largest producers of cocoa, rubber, cashew nuts or palm oil in Africa or even in the world. Cocoa in particular is of great importance. The major international cocoa trading companies such as Cargill, Cemoi and Barry Callebaut are investing in improving smallholder farming there. The traders usually work hand in hand with the large state cocoa marketing company Conseil café-cacao (CCC). The measures include improving the supply of farmers with fertilizers, agrochemicals and high-quality seedlings.

Investments in palm oil and sugar cultivation

In palm oil, local producers Palmci, Sania, Société d'investissement pour l'agriculture tropicale (Siat), Palmafrique, Palmci, Africa West Industries (AWI) and Israeli Dekel Oil are expected to continue investing in the expansion of their production. Sucaf and Sucrivoir are also investing in sugar cane cultivation. Demand for corn, cassava, tomatoes and poultry meat is also rising sharply. Such foodstuffs have not been cultivated professionally to date, and projects are now increasingly taking place in these areas as well. Rice cultivation is politically supported.

In Côte d'Ivoire, capital has increasingly been flowing into agro-processing in recent years, i.e. the processing of local agricultural products such as cocoa (Barry Callebaut, Cemoi), palm oil, rubber (SAPH), cashew nuts (Olam) or rice (Dekel Oil). The government in particular wants to increase local value creation and provides investors with investment incentives for this. The major cocoa traders, for example, recently invested a great deal in the construction of mills. About one third of the harvest is now processed locally, even though most of the value added is still generated in the industrialized countries.

Source: GTAI Germany Trade & Invest, 16 May 2018

Opportunities in the agrofood industry

  • Revival of local food production and „Made-locally“ trend; political will to expand local food production
  • Massive investments in processing and packaging equipment
  • Medium-term development extremely promising
  • Biggest market for food products in Africa - still undersupplied

Range of exhibits

Process technology

  • Ingredients and auxiliary materials
  • Bakery technology
  • Confectionery, chocolate and snacks technology
  • Ice cream technology
  • Coffee machines and equipment
  • Kitchen technology
  • Basic food technology
  • Vegetable and fruit technology
  • Beverage technology
  • Pasta technology
  • Delicatessen and convenience food technology
  • Dairy technology
  • Meat processing technology
  • Fish technology

Packaging technology 

  • Packaging machines
  • Packaging materials 


Food safety and quality management

Refrigetation  and air-conditioning technology

  • Refrigeration installations
  • Ventilation, air conditioning and heating technology

Conveying, transport and storage installations 

Water and waste water