Groupe SIFCA - Cosmivoire

The agro-industrial group SIFCA produces three different sub-products:rubber, sugar and oil products (particularly palm-oil). Some of the most important buyers of its rubber for are, among others, groups such as Firestone and Michelin. While rubber production is destined to the world market, sugar and oil are targeting the West African Economic and Monetary Union but the company is also looking for ways to access all the whole ECOWAS market. For sugar the demand is growing slowly while for soap and palm oil, its global presence still pales in comparison to Asian companies. The company has suffered directly from instability in West Africa in general and Liberia in particular. The company at the end of 2008 is also looking for regional and international partners.

Regarding the activities of one of CIFCA’s subsidiaries, Cosmivoire, the company’s CEO, complains about the malpractices of some competitor palm oil exporters in Nigeria. These exporters first import palm oil from Asia or Brazil, then they alter it slightly by mixing it with locally-produced oil or additives. Doing so is cheap and automatically renders the palm oil as a “local product” and from there on entitled to the benefits of being exported from a zone franque to Europe. This process of “trade laundering” is extremely negative for companies which are in fact comprehensively producing and manufacturing a product from start to finish and contributing to the real growth of Cote d’Ivoire’s economy.

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