New Shopping Mall for Côte d’Ivoire

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Cosmos Yopougon is the most expansive shopping centre in the country and, significantly, bucks the format of other large-scale malls that have mushroomed in the wealthier parts of sub-Saharan African cities. Cosmos Yopougon is the most expansive shopping centre in the country and, significantly, bucks the format of other large-scale malls that have mushroomed in the wealthier parts of sub-Saharan African cities.

A $30m shopping centre recently opened its doors in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, on the back of strong consumer and retailer demand.

Showcasing a resurgence in the Côte d'Ivoire economy, the opening of the nation's most extensive shopping mall is transforming lives in the commercial capital Abidjan.

Spread across three hectares, Cosmos Yopougon is the most expansive shopping centre in the country and, significantly, bucks the format of other large-scale malls that have mushroomed in the wealthier parts of sub-Saharan African cities.

Yopougon, the most populous district of Abidjan, is predominantly a lower-middle-class area where most consumption is through informal retail and street stalls. 

Some of the retailers in the mall’s kiosks are former stallholders. The mall has exceeded half a million shoppers since opening six weeks ago, a record for a commercial centre in Côte d’Ivoire.

“The impact here goes beyond numbers, or even the jobs we’re creating or the financial returns for our investors,” said Hafeez Giwa, managing partner of HC Capital Properties, the London and Abidjan-based developer and local investor in the $30m project. 

“We met one woman entering a supermarket for the first time who was astounded to find fresh fish and meat alongside so many other groceries. She is a consumer who was historically underserved. We’ve seen people who have never been on an escalator hugging each other when they get to the top; it brings tears to your eyes. For ordinary people, this is changing their universe of the possible.”

The mall features a Carrefour Market supermarket, a 700-seat three-screen Majestic Cinema, an innovative children’s learning and play area, a food court, 60 stores and 30 kiosks – all connected with help from state-of-the-art digital wayfinders.

Overwhelming positive response

President Alassane Ouattara has sought to prevent any repeat of the civil wars of 2002 and 2011 through a restructuring of the army coupled with economic policies that include infrastructure projects and attracting international investors.

The world’s fastest-growth economy in 2016, Côte d’Ivoire is forecast by the World Bank to have the fourth highest rate of real GDP growth this year and leads among nations recovering from serious conflict during the past decade.

Household consumption spending has shown double-digit annual growth since the last civil war ended, spurring retail sales rising in line with GDP. 

Yet, despite improved spending power, 46% of the population is below the poverty line, according to the African Development Bank. Most Ivorians now live in the larger cities, with urban residents increasing to more than half the population in the past decade.

“Our biggest satisfaction in the project came from the overwhelmingly positive response of locals to this totally new shopping experience,” said Mario Saradar, chairman and CEO of Saradar Capital Holding, which is the parent of SFO Group, the global investor in the project.

Having created over 500 construction jobs, Cosmos Yopougon brings a further 750 permanent positions, which in turn will directly sustain an estimated 938 new informal sector jobs – more than half of those for women and youths. 

The centre has actively sought to attract street vendors – who often struggle to cover their most basic needs – into the formal retail sector by offering leases inside the mall for as little as a month and smaller kiosks that don’t require the kit out and stock levels that shop units would. Demand for these kiosks has been triple the amount available, with artisans selling everything from artwork to local wines and teddy bears. 

Cosmos Yopougon won recognition from the International Property Awards as “Best Retail Development in Côte d’Ivoire 2018” and ranked no. 2 on the continent overall for “Best Retail Development” in the Africa Property Investment Awards 2018. 

Read more on:

Retail Property  |  Côte d’Ivoire Property Market  |  Hafeez Giwa  |  Cosmos Yopougon Shopping Mall  |  Mario Saradar  |  Alassane Ouattara  |  Africa Property Investment Awards

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