AKDN has been active in economic development projects in Cote d'Ivoire since the 1960s. Starting in the packaging industry, over the last half century, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), through Industrial Promotion Services (IPS) has expanded to agribusiness and infrastructure projects.
In 1998, IPS, in conjunction with the Swiss company Paul Reinhart-AG, acquired three cotton production units located in the north-west of the country, and created Ivoire Coton. A decade later the group also acquired the M’Bengué production unit, located further to the north, which merged with Ivoire Coton in 2012.
Then in 2014, IPS moved into one of Côte d’Ivoire’s most promising agribusiness sectors: processing cashew nuts into kernels, establishing Cajou des Savanes in Bouaké in 2014. As with all aspects of AKDN, investments are usually made for the long term, and hence projects need to be sustainable. Ensuring their long-term viability depends on addressing persistent infrastructural constraints. Frequently there are delays in getting harvests to the processing units, and delays in getting the processed products to customers – while the factories suffer from inadequate energy availability.