Zena Exotic Fruits: A role model for export success and social responsibility
Zena, an award winning company from Senegal, has increased its export performance to Europe as part of the CBI West Africa Natural Ingredients programme. In our view, the company is a role model for social responsibility in its labour policies and supply chain activities. This is borne out by several awards the company has won.
Family business in Senegal
Zena has been a family business in Senegal for over 30 years. It produces branded and private label jams, syrups, juices, nectars and pepper sauces under the slogan “All Natural”. Their products meet the highest quality standards and are produced in their ISO9001 certified plant in Dakar. According to CBI expert Jim Fitzpatrick, the fact that they are certified “is quite an achievement in the environment of West Africa”.
Randa Filfili, the CEO, runs the company in partnership with her husband Zouheir Filfili. Randa, being the face of the company, has served as a role model for other women in business. Their success in difficult export markets like the North-America and Europe extends this role model to African business in general.
Fair wages and creation of jobs
It is not just Randa, but the company as a whole serves as a role model. Zena invests in their employees by paying fair wages, creating jobs for people from disadvantaged areas and creating opportunities for people with disabilities. They mainly employ women. Women are available and quality employees. Additionally, they support the education of the children of employees, which is very valuable in a country where access to education is not always possible.
During the CBI programme, management coaching and communications were the most important components for Zena. The CBI experts sought to encourage the company by building confidence in its already quality products and competence in marketing. The approach was changed to finding new export customers of best fit, rather than just trying to find orders. Zena has made great progress in presenting itself and building relationships with customers. Together with their commitment to make a positive impact on society and their expanding product range, Zena can be seen as an exemplary business within the Natural Ingredients West Africa programme and indeed Senegal.