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Why Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty is expanding into Africa

Rihanna and Lupita Nyong'o at an event
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty
Fenty Beauty will launch in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Botswana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia on May 27.
By Seth Onyango

bird story agency contributor

Published Last updated

Fenty’s planned launch in Africa is perceived as a reaction to the growth of the continent’s beauty and personal care industry which is now valued at over $12 billion.

Latest figures show the market could reach $14 billion in 2022, oiled by a steady rise in disposable incomes among the continent’s middle class.

According to Brookings Institute, growing discretionary incomes will lead to higher demand for high-quality, niche, and foreign-produced goods.

“Africa’s emerging economies present exciting opportunities to global businesses for expansion in retail and distribution,” reads its analysis in part.

Africa’s billion dollar beauty market has attracted global brands

“Changing demographics and improving business environments across the continent will be just two of the factors contributing to rising household consumption, which is predicted to reach $2.5 trillion by 2030.”

It further states that seven countries—Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa—hold half of the continent’s population, and 43% of Africans across the continent will belong to the middle or upper classes.

According to the World Bank, Africa’s youngest population make it an attractive region for manufacturers, brands, and retailers.

Fenty’s Africa launch is highly anticipated

In a release on Tuesday, May 10, the Fenty announced its African launch was a “natural next step” in expanding their ‘Beauty for All’ notion.

“I am a proud Bajan who also feels a close connection to Africa, and its people,” Rihanna said.

“I’ve had the pleasure and the privilege to spend time on the continent and those experiences never leave you. Now, being able to bring Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin to eight African countries and then hopefully more in the future—means so much to me.”

Fenty will launch in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Botswana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Zambia on May 27.

Fenty is perhaps the biggest and most hyped cosmetic brand to launch in Africa, where multinational beauty brands are already making investments in the region.

Both BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world, and Symrise, a major producer of cosmetic active ingredients and raw materials, opened R&D facilities in Nigeria focusing on tailormade formulas specific to the needs of regional consumers in that market.

Rihanna’s brand might therefore unlock more investments into Africa’s beauty industry.

The original version of this story was republished with the permission of bird, a story agency under Africa No Filter.

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