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Algeria's Cevital to expand to Ivory Coast with $1bn investment

Issad Rebrab, president and owner of Algerian food processing company Cevital in Abidjan, June 8, 2012

Algerian food processor Cevital plans to invest $1bn in Ivory Coast over the next five years to produce rice, maize, sugar, and vegetable oil, as part of its plan to expand to international markets.

The company, which is the largest sugar refiner in North Africa, is in discussions with the Ivory Coast government to lease 300,000ha of farmland, on which it initially plans to grow rice.

It expects the initial investment in rice to be nearly $40m, with the total spending expected to reach around $200m.

Cevital owner and president Issad Rebrab said that Ivory Coast currently imports 800,000t to 850,000t of rice every year, even though it is an agricultural country capable of being not only self-sufficient but also with additional scope for exports.

About 300,000ha of land has been requested from the prime minister, and the company will be ready to invest as soon as the authorities make the land available, Rebrab said, speaking to Reuters.

"We have decided to go international, notably in Africa because we are persuaded that the strongest growth in the next ten years will be in Africa
," Rebrab said.

Cevital is also planning to set up a cocoa processing plant in the country - it is currently seeking a location for the plant and expects the construction to begin by the end of 2012.

Ivory Coast was the largest cocoa grinder in the world in 2010 - the West African nation processed 532,000t of cocoa, which was primarily used for the production of cocoa powder and butter.

Cocoa is the largest revenue generator for the country, which produced 1.5 million tonnes of cocoa during 2010-2011.

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It's good to see such companies trying out intra-African investments. It would be great to see Ivorians and other countries also doing something like that in certain sectors.
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