Africa is changing, we said at the beginning of this book. Today, there is no more Africa outside globalization.

The continent has even become the place of the most frontal shocks: between the seasonal rhythm of the village universe and the unrelenting frenzy of its cities, between the reassuring sphere of the traditional universe and the rough edges of rising individualism, between an economy regulated by limited resources and the infinite desires born of the consumer society.

For the African as for the entrepreneur in Africa, the challenge is constant: to adapt to changes, while preserving its anchorage.

Throughout its history, IPS (WA) has endeavored to find a balance between the different worlds that its activities have brought it into contact with. Whether it was confronted with the universe of the remote villages of Côte d’Ivoire or that of the ultra-specialized technicians of the Azito power plant in Abidjan, the Institution has shown the constant concern to bring together the interests of three groups that are sometimes distant from each other: its staff, whose skills it must develop, the local communities within which it operates and whose quality of life it seeks to improve, and finally, the shareholders, whose interests it must protect.

But IPS (WA) has found its way knowing how to both smell the spirit of the times and deepen its expertise. The bottom line that drove his action is clear, logical, grounded.

Thus, when it was appropriate to ensure the packaging of the fruits of the earth, the Institution bet on packaging. Then, when the time came to process the fruits of the earth, she went into agribusiness. And when it was time to give the economy the means for further expansion, it opened up to the broader horizon of infrastructure and more particularly, of the energy necessary for industrialization.

Whenever possible, IPS (WA) has tried to play a pioneering role.

This was true for packaging with jute and the development of rigid packaging such as preforms or caps for soft drinks. This was also true for the metal work whose transformation IPS initiated in Côte d’Ivoire. By launching Cajou des Savanes in 2014, IPS (WA) has just taken on a new role as initiator. The Institution wants to clear the way for an industrial take-off for this promising sector for which the Ivorian State is asking it to support the development of the sector in the country.

But IPS (WA) has never contented itself with launching a project, without ensuring its viability and sustainability. The best example of the perseverance of IPS (WA) in recent years is SN SOSUCO. Acquired alongside the State of Burkina Faso by IPS in 1998 and renamed Société Nouvelle-Société Sucrière de la Comoé, it has continued to face major difficulties which have sometimes threatened its survival. But the importance of this company for the Comoé region in terms of jobs and development, has imposed on everyone, manager, staff, cane cutter, but also shareholder, to continue the effort until structural sanitation.

L for leader, E for Commitment, A for Continuous Improvement, D for Diversity, E for Ethics and R for Responsability.. The words chosen by the staff of IPS (WA) to define the values of the Institution were not chosen by chance: LEADER obliges everyone to dare to start but also to stay in the race. LEADER is an injunction that implies development, but also sustainability.

This book is there to try to reflect this journey.

By wanting to be a beautiful object, it wants to thank all those who participated in the accomplishment of the mission of IPS (WA), whether they were or are managers, employees, workers or farmers.

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

Mahamadou Sylla,     
Chief Executive Officer