The big challenge for the West African region remains the perspectives for the export of its goods. Strikingly it takes longer for goods to be transported from the hinterland of West Africa to Abidjan (for example, from north Nigeria, Cameroon or Mali), than from Europe and Asia to a company operating in Abidjan. This makes it very hard for a company such as Ivoiral to buy products form Cameroon for example. In addition, logistics, customs bureaucracy and transportation of goods from ports such as those of Luanda and Pointe Noire are often troublesome and detrimental to business. In addition, energy and electricity are extremely expensive in Cote d’Ivoire. This is particularly concerning for the production and manufacturing of aluminum products which consume large amounts of energy.
The company has had problems in Nigeria, and went through a merger in 2005. Nigeria is a competitor. European companies like Arcellor have the know-how. The company in turn makes use of local labor but also takes advantage of cheaper primary goods. The company is now seeking for a greater integration of the regional market in order for economies of scale to be possible. In Africa, Ivoiral needs to adapt the market segment of its sales to lower incomes but is trying at the same time to comply to European standards in order not to lose out in export opportunities. Some problems faced within Côte d’Ivoire are the infrastructure, namely the route system as well as the complexity and bureaucratic nature of the tariff system. In fact, smaller companies competing with Ivoiral are often able to avoid tariff and bureaucratic barriers of trade very easily by informal and often illegal methods but for larger companies such as Ivoiral, such would never be an option given not only its modus operandi but its exposure and cheer size.The company’s year turnover is of 30 billion CFA.