Tag Archives: Guinea

“Guinean” champagne charms Africans

In a luxury lounge in Abidjan, customers of Cote d’Ivoire enjoy a special champagne:  Laurent-Perrier? Widow Clicquot ? Moet and Chandon? There is a new brand of  named after Dian Diallo to welcome guests.

This is the first brand of champagne that bears an African name,” says creator Dian Diallo, a 40-year-old Guinean wine expert. “This is by no means an African champagne because it does not exist, an African champagne!” He explains that “Dian Diallo” was developed in the art and know-how of the traditional Champagne method from A to Z, from the vine to the bottling, everything was done in Champagne “in the respect of the AOC,” he says.

Dian Diallo, who studied management, economics and marketing in France, knows the industry well. Before launching in 2017, he worked for ten years for major brands of champagne. “I realized that Africans consumed a lot more sweet and fruity champagne (…), much more than classic dry or semi-dry, because the crude has the acid side they do not like” he added.

By bringing a small dose of cane sugar, we completely remove this bitterness.” This addition allows “to soften a little champagne so that it is delicious” without being “too sweet“. The element of cane sugar is a special feature in Champagne and Dian Diallo is then looking for a champagne that suits him. “I had a very nice welcome and I partnered with a winemaker, Rémi Jacques, Baye“, whose family has been making champagne since 1932. Objective: sell this sparkling in Africa, in relation to the expectations of the public on the spot.

In terms of grape varieties, Dian Diallo champagne is composed of “50% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, it gives a supple champagne, soft, easy to taste with a touch of freshness, that we can take at all times of the day, “says Rémi Jacques.”But there is no adaptation to an “African taste “, we are not in an industrial product: it’s champagne!”, he concludes.

Dian Diallo sells more than 10,000 bottles a year in Africa in Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Liberia, Cameroon, Gabon, Guinea, and Burkina Faso. He says he enjoys a “strong craze for champagne and luxury goods in Africa“, favored by a middle class with increasing purchasing power.

If he intends to seduce the African public by the quality of his product, he also plays on the continental fiber: “There is a real pride of Africans to see an African evolve in this closed environment,” says Dian Diallo. This marketing specialist invites upscale customers to tastings in hotels and chic places in African capitals.

Millions stolen in Ebola epidemic

The Red Cross has confirmed that more than USD 6 million of aid money was lost to fraud and corruption during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Auditors found overpriced supplies, salaries for non-existent aid workers and fake customs bills.

The disease, which raged between 2014 and 2016, claimed at least 10,000 lives. It required a massive humanitarian operation costing hundreds of millions of dollars to bring it under control. As Ebola spread across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the Red Cross Federation in Geneva was dispersing cash donations to the national Red Cross societies in each of those countries – altogether a sum of about USD100 million.

An investigation by Red Cross auditors has revealed that in Liberia USD 2.7 million disappeared in fraudulently overpriced supplies, or in salaries for non-existent aid workers. In Sierra Leone, Red Cross staff apparently colluded with local bank workers to skim off over USD 2 million while in Guinea, where investigations are ongoing, around USD 1million disappeared in fake customs bills.

The Red Cross told that it is deeply sorry for the losses. The organisation adds that has introduced stricter financial rules, and promised to hold any Red Cross staff involved to account. The Red Cross is the world’s best-known humanitarian organisation, and this revelation will be damaging, she adds.