According to this really interesting article today from The Business of Fashion, Côte d’Ivoire is tipped to become the world's next vibrant fashion hub. The country is already francophone West Africa’s economic hub but now it is emerging as a future fashion powerhouse.
International brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoste and Levi’s have already set up stores in the malls of Abidjan, whilst local designers are growing in reputation both nationally and abroad and are taking advantage of the growing number of African e-commerce platforms, as well as social media, to sell their products.
With Côte d’Ivoire expected to continue to attract foreign investment and with local infrastructure improving too, it seems clear that the country is going to become of increasing interest to more international fashion brands in the next few years.
One of things brands looking to enter the market in Côte d’Ivoire should make sure of is that they have suitable trade mark protection there. Côte d’Ivoire does not have its own IP office or trade mark registration system so some businesses may not be aware that trade mark protection can still be secured by filing through OAPI – The African Organisation for Intellectual Property. This is a system that allows for the filing of a single trade mark application to cover 17 mainly francophone territories, namely - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoro Islands, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.