Rising demand for alcoholic drinks is being spurred mainly by the expansion of the country’s urban middle class, with young urban professionals showing interest in high-quality products and renowned brands. This is particularly apparent in beer, wine and spirits, notably whiskies and vodka.
On-trade sales took a battering across all categories of alcoholic drinks in 2020 as the imposition of a curfew in Abidjan and other parts of the country, the closure of the country’s borders and the curtailment of movement among the local populace combined with social distancing and economic uncertainty to put the brakes on growth across the industry. In beer and spirits, it is expected that consumers will have turned to the parallel trade in homebrewed beer and home distilled spirits, eroding demand overall in these two crucial categories.
The COVID-19 virus was confirmed to have reached Côte d’Ivoire in March 2020, when an Ivorian returning from Italy became the country’s first known case on 11 March. The country closed its borders on 22 March, as well as putting Abidjan in lockdown, with no exit and entry allowed.
Côte d'Ivoire has a centuries-long tradition of both the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages. There is a well-defined cultural tradition for the consumption of various types of alcoholic beverages, from the bio-alcoholic palm wine referred to locally as bangui, essentially a kind of white wine, to expensive international spirits brands.
Côte d'Ivoire has faced considerable social and political upheaval since the turn of the 21st century, not least the devastating civil war that raged throughout the country between 2002 and 2004, followed by further conflict from November 2010 to April 2011. However, since 2012 the country has enjoyed robust GDP growth of 8-9% annually.
Since 2000, the country's road infrastructure suffered considerable damage due to armed conflict, with the major civil war between 2002 and 2004 followed by a further brief civil war from November 2010 to April 2011. However, the government has made road building a priority, with investment in this area supported by strong economic growth.
The legal drinking age in Côte d'Ivoire is 18 years old, while the legal purchasing age for alcoholic drinks in both the on-trade and off-trade is 21. There were no legal changes in this area over the review period and none are anticipated over the forecast period.
The 2018 Tax Schedule came into effect on 2 January 2018 and sharply raised the excise duty on many alcoholic drinks in order to bring excise duty levels into line with the norms of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). The excise on still light grape wine was raised from 25% to 35%, while champagne saw an increase from 25% to 40%.
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