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Akouba Angola or how to create wealth by opening Africa's first innovative fast-food restaurant


5 January 2024 in Abidjan: the business news magazine Sika Finance reveals some impressive news: Dabali Xpress, a well-known fast food chain in the country, has successfully raised a remarkable FCFA 1 billion, the equivalent of €1.52 million. This exceptional expansion was made possible by a strategic partnership with the Compagnie des Investisseurs Africains (CIA). At the head of this success story is Akouba Angola Aggré. With 5 flourishing restaurants already in Abidjan and another in Bouaké, she embodies the spirit of resilience and ambition of successful entrepreneurs. But how did she achieve this remarkable success? That's the subject of this Fanaka Story, which invites you to delve into the career of an exceptional entrepreneur, to discover her challenges and successes, and to get a glimpse of her plans for the future of Dabali Xpress.

Akouba Angola, a young Abidjanese in search of her bearings but an entrepreneur at heart


Before becoming the confident and determined woman we know today, Akouba Angola Aggré went on a quest to define her deepest aspirations. A graduate of the Université de l'Atlantique Abidjan in business administration with a specialisation in management, she also obtained a master's degree in business administration from Mercer University - Steton School of Business and Economics in Atlanta, USA.


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In an episode of the "Entrepreneur State of Africa" podcast, Akouba reveals a hitherto little-known facet of her career: her foray into entrepreneurship really began after her marriage to Daniel Aggrémet on Facebook. They married just six months after their first meeting, on 22 June 2013, marking the start of a new adventure.


The couple decided to move to Dubai, where Olivia, as she is known, felt the desire to contribute and create alongside her husband. Her entrepreneurial spirit was awakening, and she quickly rejected the idea of a salaried job.


Already very attracted by the sale of oriental dresses, inspiration struck when the couple's spiritual mother visited Dubai. Olivia sniffed out a bargain and decided to buy a few dresses and boubous. She tried them on before sharing them on her Facebook account. The feedback was so enthusiastic that she decided to export the most beautiful models from Dubai to Côte d'Ivoire. The Fashion Empire boutique was born, and quickly became a reference in Côte d'Ivoire thanks to its carefully selected range of imported outfits, some of which were even made to measure. This initial success foreshadowed Akouba Angola's meteoric rise, well before his landmark role at the helm of Dabali Xpress.

Fashion Empire and the Max 15 episode


Fashion Empire is without doubt the business that launched Akouba Angola into the world of entrepreneurship. With her ability to identify the needs of a market and provide effective solutions, Akouba's career is truly propelled towards new horizons.



Observing the Ivorian market, the entrepreneur noticed that women over size 44 were having difficulty finding elegant, affordable clothes. She launched a new line of clothes aimed at them, with the added bonus of a promised purchase price of no more than 15,000 CFA francs. Once again, the "max 15" concept was a dazzling success, leading to the opening of three boutiques in just one year. Its ambitions now extend beyond the borders of Abidjan, with the aim of establishing a presence in every district of the city and then beyond national borders. Naturally, this rapid growth is not without its challenges, and the reality of Ivorian SMEs imposes financial demands that Akouba is facing with determination, mobilising its own resources, deploying all its creativity and demonstrating its skills as a business leader.


The year 2020 brings its share of additional challenges with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with new consumer behaviours, increasingly oriented towards online shopping, the entrepreneur decided to take a decisive turn. She dematerialised her shops to adapt to these changes and continue to meet the needs of her customers.


Today, Akouba Angola Aggré continues to make its mark on the Côte d'Ivoire fashion industry with its innovative spirit and unwavering determination. Its transition to digital is a testament to its ability to adapt to market challenges while remaining true to its vision of offering quality products that are accessible to all.


Dabali Xpress, an ode to West African gastronomy


Olivia's story continues in Zone 4 in Abidjan. In September 2021, she will be opening a fast-food restaurant with a unique offering: Dabali Xpress (which means "fast food" in Nouchi, the local slang). It showcases the richness and diversity of African gastronomy through typical dishes from Côte d'Ivoire and other West African countries. Dishes are served in 10 minutes, with an average price of 3,000 CFA francs.


She created the concept with her husband, Daniel Aggré. Both passionate about food, they decided to fill a gap that they themselves had noticed: the scarcity of a restaurant offer based on local culinary specialities, in contrast to the availability of a multitude of Western restaurant chains.


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The name 'Dabali Xpress' was carefully chosen to reflect the very essence of the project: an Ivorian restaurant offering quality food served quickly. The concept was designed to meet a glaring need in the market: to offer customers an authentic, varied and accessible culinary experience. The flagship dishes at Dabali Xpress are a vibrant tribute to the cuisine of Côte d'Ivoire and the sub-region. Local classics such as sauce graine, banana 'foutou' and braised chicken naturally find their place here. But the restaurant doesn't stop there: customers can also enjoy emblematic dishes from other countries in the sub-region.
the region, such as 'mafé' from Mali or 'thiéboudiène' from Senegal. To top it all off, traditional desserts such as 'dégué' or 'bissap' are also on the menu, offering a complete and richly flavoured experience.


Over and above the quality of its dishes, Dabali Xpress stands out for its warm, friendly atmosphere, where every visitor is welcomed like a member of the family. The affordable prices mean that everyone can discover and savour this authentic cuisine, making the restaurant a must for lovers of African gastronomy in Abidjan and beyond.


The transition from being a fashion entrepreneur to running a fast-food chain may seem surprising, but for Olivia Aggré it turned out to be a natural evolution full of meaning. During her years of study in Atlanta, she had to find ways of supporting herself, in particular to pay for her transport costs. That's how she came to work in the catering industry. Her husband, who also faced financial challenges while studying abroad, also worked in the catering industry to cover his expenses.


The innovative concept of Dabali Xpress was born of a bold fusion between the tried and tested model of major Western chains such as McDonald's and KFC, and an offer based exclusively on African dishes. This bold choice quickly bore fruit, as the restaurant attracted a diverse clientele: professionals on their lunch break, students looking for authentic flavours, families in search of a good meal, and so on.
and even tourists visiting Abidjan.


The growing success of Dabali Xpress is testament not only to the vision and creativity of Olivia and her husband, but also to their ability to respond to a specific market need. This winning formula has made Dabali Xpress a key reference point in Abidjan's culinary landscape, and has paved the way for promising expansion in the years to come.

The genius idea that enabled Akouba Angola to build an empire


Preparing African dishes requires lengthy preparations and represents a complex culinary challenge. The main challenge for the company was to standardise this arduous process. To meet this challenge, the entrepreneur had to recruit a dynamic workforce, and this is one of her proudest achievements. Her business has generated employment in the city of Abidjan.


After opening its first outlet, Dabali Xpress experienced rapid and impressive growth. The success and professionalism of the team quickly won over a growing number of customers, leading to the opening of new restaurants across the city. A typical day at Dabali Xpress sees around 300 customers served in each establishment, a testament to the growing popularity of the brand.


In its constant drive to innovate and improve the customer experience, Dabali Xpress has brought about a real revolution in the restaurant world, creating an environment where African dishes can be enjoyed by all, in a clean, welcoming and comfortable setting, enabling international customers to discover and savour the delights of African cuisine in optimum conditions. The brand has also adapted to new market trends by offering :

  • delivery services: dishes can be ordered directly from the website or by telephone, and this formula now accounts for almost 30% of the company's daily sales;
  • modernising the ordering process in its restaurants: digital menu and order display board, order availability beeper, etc.

The company has also opted for short distribution channels, committing itself to sourcing from local farmers and suppliers, in order to support local industry and businesses in its own way.


The reputation of Dabali Xpress has caught the attention of eminent figures such as the Ivorian Minister of Tourism and Leisure, Saidou Fofana, who announced that the establishment had been selected as one of the preferred venues to welcome guests and officials of the 2023 African Cup of Nations. This official recognition crowned the hard work and unwavering commitment of the entrepreneur and her team to promoting African gastronomy on the international stage.

The consecration


On 5 January 2024, Olivia Aggré announced on her X account that Dabali Xpress had successfully raised FCFA 1 billion (1.5 million $) from the Compagnie des Investisseurs Africains, a network of investors from the African diaspora. The funds were used to finance the brand's 5th restaurant in the Palm Club hotel complex in Abidjan and a 6th unit in Bouaké. Proceeds from the latter should be used to finance the opening of a new establishment at Abidjan international airport.


Olivia and Daniel Aggré, the founders of Dabali Xpress, opened these two new franchises in just one month, after two years of negotiations with the CIA. The CIA acquired a stake in the fast food brand on 2 January, with the aim of supporting its expansion in the Ivorian market.


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Dabali Xpress' vision is of a more inclusive and sustainable economy. The company's management team has opted for private equity as a new growth lever. Its aim is to have around twenty restaurants in Côte d'Ivoire within the next three years. This would make the brand the largest restaurant chain in the country, reinforcing its position as local leader in the sector.


In an interview with Kahi Lumumba and Moulaye Tabouré in 2023, Akouba Angola said that for her and her husband, real business had to be able to create wealth. Dabali Xpress is the materialisation of this thought. It is also a model of shared prosperity which, thanks to its many franchises, is helping to create jobs and support a more resilient economy. Akouba Olivia Aggré has found the formula to achieve this, and we wish her every success as she expands beyond Côte d'Ivoire's borders.