Getting off the Koutoukou

Guinness in Africa

I asked a friend today what the top three markets for Guineess beer are. He pretty quickly came up with the UK and Ireland, but then guessed China, Germany, USA, Japan and France before I had to tell him Nigeria is No 2 as per an article entitled Nigeria set to overtake UK as largest market for Guinness  on

Unlike in developed markets, commercial beers like Guinness are a bit of a luxury product in sub-saharan Africa:

“The breweries sector in Sub-Saharan Africa is very attractive,” says Nothando Ndebele, Head of Research, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) at Renaissance Capital. “While per-capita consumption of alcohol is as high in SSA as in most developed markets, consumption of commercial beverages remains low relative to home-brewed alternatives. With rising income levels and increasing rates of urbanisation, we expect commercial beverages to continue gaining market share. This should support strong volume growth for the sector.”

It looks commercial beer consumption could be a leading indicator for increased discretionary spending, and worth following. The questions is, when Nigerians or Ivorians for the first time have some money to spend beyond basic needs, what do they spend it on?   I would guess nicer clothes and cellphones, but beer is probably up there too.

UPDATE: I forgot, marriages, funerals and religious events (like going to Mecca) are very likely at the top of the spending list too.

I did a quick search, but did not find any non-gated data on commercial beer consumption in the Ivory Coast.  Would have been interesting to see.

Office Space

Another datapoint that supports the Macro Case for the Ivory Coast also comes from How we made it in Africa. It’s about office space provider Regus setting up business in Abidjan:

“Africa is a key part of the world where the economy is expanding . . . and our offices are particularly well adapted to emerging markets to allow companies to get a foothold and test the water”, vice-president, Olivier de Lavalette told How we made it in Africa.

The company will be hoping demand in Ivory Coast matches that in neighbouring Ghana.

After the opening of an office in Accra in April 2010, occupancy rates are at 95%, far beyond initial forecasts.


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