Mass retailer, CFAO Group is about to start construction of 20 new generation malls in Africa.

The project which costs $500 million will be implemented in countries such as Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Senegal, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.

CFAO will develop the project through SGI – its subsidiary in charge of development and property management.

Under the project, CFAO could choose one the following three types of malls to build: a hypermarket with a shopping arcade and a space for food products, a supermarket with the same features, or a large integrated surface with differentiated products and brand offerings.

CFAO already demonstrated its ambitious vision for Africa’s mass retail market, by opening Abidjan’s first hypermarket, PlaYce.

In Cameroon, much work has been done. Truly, five sites have been identified and are now being evaluated in CEMAC’s leading economy and CFA Zone’s second economy.

The CFAO Group strongly believes that the malls it will establish will create jobs both during and after their construction. The project will also allow brands and local agricultural products to boost their presence.

Among the major beneficiaries of this project is Carrefour, France’s mass retail leader and one of the world’s major mass retailer, who recently partnered with CFAO to expand across Africa, beyond Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco where it already has franchises.

In countries such as Cameroon where many local investors (Dovv or Scropole) entered the mass retailing industry, competition will be fiercer. The battle will go beyond fighting groups like Casino and Arno. Now investors will be facing the mighty and experienced Carrefour.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank’s arm in charge of private sector, should support the expansion project.

The institution is studying a possible $60 million investment to acquire 20 % stake in SGI Africa as CFAO Distribution holds 45% of the company. Remaining shares are owned by unidentified investors.