From beards to Benghazi: An overview of North Africa

North Africa may have tough markets, but profits are available for innovative and insightful companies, report Kaci Racelma, Paul Cochrane, Elizia Volkmann, Florence Massena, Jalal Bounouar and Poorna Rodrigo

North Africa has never been a particularly easy place to do business. But female and male consumers are prepared to spend on personal care products, and profits are there for the taking for companies that take the time to understand these vibrant and often contrasting markets.


Egypt: Unfair Exchange

The US$1.2bn Egyptian beauty and personal care sector is the largest in north Africa and it has been going through tough times. The country’s political and economic instability since the 2011 uprising had already been depressing the largest north African market. But it was the November 2016 decision to de-peg the Egyptian pound (EGP) to the US dollar that really hit the sector hard. The $1 exchange rate fell from EGP8 to EGP13 in November, and dropped further to EGP18 in early 2017. “This year will be worse than 2016. Last year was okay because of the exchange rate, which helped businesses manage imports for 11 months, but in the last two months they’ve been . . .

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