In Africa, haircare becomes a multi-billion dollar industry
* 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...