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Africa is changing
Our introduction described how Africa is changing[2]. Today, no part of the continent has escaped globalisation.

Africa has also become the scene of dramatic, head-on clashes. Between the gentle seasonal rhythm of village life and the relentless frenzy of the towns and cities; between the comforting traditional world and the harshness of increasing individualism; between an economy governed by limited resources and the endless materialism of the consumer society.

Africans and those who do business in Africa face the constant challenge of adapting to change while remaining grounded.

Throughout its history, IPS (WA) has sought to strike a balance between the different worlds in which it operates. Whether working in remote villages in Côte d’Ivoire or in the hi-tech environment of the Abidjan’s Azito power plant, the organisation has done its utmost to protect the interests of three different groups which are sometimes far apart: the staff whose skills must be developed, the local communities where IPS (WA) activities are based and whose quality of life it seeks to improve, and the shareholders, whose interests it must safeguard.

But IPS (WA) has found its way forward by keeping abreast of current developments and broadening its expertise. The guiding principle behind the institution’s activities is clear, logical and well-founded. For example, when the need arose to package agricultural crops, IPS (WA) invested in packaging. Then, when the moment came to process the crops, it went into agri-business. And when it was time to boost the economy, the organisation set its sights on the much wider sphere of infrastructure, specifically energy generation to support industrialisation.

Whenever possible, IPS (WA) has played a pioneering role. This was true of the use of jute and the development of rigid packaging such as pre-forms and stoppers for carbonated soft drinks. It was also true of the transformation the organisation brought about in Côte d’Ivoire’s metal-processing industry. And with the launch of Cajou des Savanes in 2014, IPS (WA) has once again broken new ground, the aim being to facilitate the rapid expansion of the cashew nut processing industry. This followed the Ivorian government’s request for IPS (WA) to oversee the development of this promising agri-business sector.

But for IPS (WA) it is never enough simply to set up a project without the certainty that it will be viable and sustainable. The best example of IPS (WA)’s perseverance in recent years is SN SOSUCO. Acquired jointly by IPS and the Burkina Faso government in 1998 and renamed Société Nouvelle – Société Sucrière de la Comoé, the company has continuously been confronted with serious problems, some of them threatening its very survival. But SOSUCO’s importance to Comoé Province in terms of employment and development has meant that everyone, from management to staff, sugar-cane cutters and shareholders, worked hard to set the company back on track.

L for leadership, E engagement, A for amélioration permanente – constant improvement, D for diversity, E for ethics and R for responsibility. It was not by chance that the staff of IPS (WA) chose these words to define the institution’s values. LEADER empowers each individual to take up challenges but also to stay the course. LEADER is a call that implies both development and durability

This book attempts to reflect this journey.

A beautiful object, it is a way of thanking all those who have enabled IPS (WA) to achieve its goals – from senior personnel to office staff, labourers and farmers.

 

 

Mahamadou Sylla,
CEO

  

[1] « IPS(WA) : 50 years of industrial development in West Africa »

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