In Africa, haircare becomes a multi-billion dollar industry

miércoles 6 de agosto de 2014 01:00 GYT

* Multi-nationals target Africa haircare business

* Market estimated at billions of dollars a year

* Hair extensions fastest growing sector

By David Dolan

ABUJA, Aug 6 (Reuters) - With all the skill of a master weaver at a loom, Esther Ogble stands under a parasol in the sprawling Wuse market in Nigeria's capital and spins synthetic fibre into women's hair.

Nearby, three customers - one in a hijab - wait for a turn to spend several hours and $40 to have their hair done, a hefty sum in a country where many live on less than $2 a day.

While still largely based in the informal economy, the African haircare business has become a multi-billion dollar industry that stretches to China and India and has drawn global giants such as L'Oreal and Unilever .

Hairdressers such as Ogble are a fixture of markets and taxi ranks across Africa, reflecting both the continent's rising incomes and demand from hair-conscious women.

"I need to braid my hair so that I will look beautiful," said 25-year-old Blessing James, wincing as Ogble combed and tugged at the back of her head before weaving in a plait that fell well past the shoulder.   Continuación...