Of the 2.5 billion people in the world who don’t have the visual correction they need, half a billion live in Africa. Over recent years, Essilor has been investing beyond its strong presence in North and South African markets. Now, the Group is expanding into sub-Saharan Africa (east and west) to develop the vision care industry there, drawing on Essilor’s experience and success in building business through partnerships and regional hubs.
In May 2016, Essilor SIVO, a Group partner since 2012, opened offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country of 78 million but with less than 200 optician outlets. By November, new subsidiaries were also operating in Niger and Burkina Faso. The next major step in the Group’s Africa development strategy came in December last year when Essilor opened a new centre in Lagos, Nigeria – a country whose population is predicted to surpass that of the US by 2050.
Essilor and its partners have a key role to play in educating and supporting eye care professionals and ophthalmologists to meet the acute need for vision correction in Africa. Initiatives in 2016 have included roadshows to countries across West Africa as well as training programs and resources to develop refraction skills and retail practice. Essilor SIVO also has a partnership with the University of Sfax Optical School to help students from countries with less developed eye care infrastructure such as Niger, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Essilor Group currently provides vision care solutions to nearly all the 54 countries in Africa, served by hubs in the north, west, east of the continent with over 1000 employees.
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A strategic network of local partners, like Essilor SIVO, is key to the Group’s presence in this high potential region covering 23 countries and a population of 380m people.