(AGI) - Cape Town, 28 July - L'Oreal's Research and Innovation Centre to study African hair and skin specificities as well as the beauty routines and expectations of sub-Saharan Africa consumers officially opened its doors in Johannesburg, South Africa today. The new South African Research & Innovation Centre is the group's seventh hub globally. The centre will host product development, evaluation and advanced research teams and will employ scientists from the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, physiology, cosmetology and biochemistry. "The opening of this centre in South Africa is a clear indication of the commitment that L'Oreal has for their future in South Africa, and indeed in the African continent," said Claudy Steyn, chief director of cosmetics, chemicals, plastics and pharmaceuticals at South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry, at the launch. "It is imperative that local infrastructure, expertise and the devalued currency is leveraged by companies to drive exports and in particular to African markets. The job opportunities that exports create are well documented and choosing South Africa as the preferred location will support employment creation. The sourcing of raw materials and services locally will be a boost for reduction of the adverse balance of payments that we face," she added. Steyn said the research centre will add to the over 60 000 jobs already created in the cosmetics and personal care sector, which contributes 1% to South Africa's Growth Domestic Product. L'Oreal's executive vice-president for Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East, Alexandre Popoff, said: "Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing regions for L'Ore'al. Our new research arm in South Africa will solidly enable us to continually create the beauty products of the future for our African consumers, while drawing inspiration from the diverse beauty rituals and the various needs of our consumers on the continent. Laurent Attal, the group's executive vice-president of research and innovation, said the opening of centre showed their determination to go further in innovations for the African beauty market. "Our consumer surveys conducted since 2010 and our in-depth studies of skin and hair since early 2000, represent the knowledge base for the development of tailored products for African consumers. We are starting with hair and our ambitions are much broader and cover the body, hygiene, skin care and makeup categories," Attal said. The research centre will add to the over 60 000 jobs already created in the cosmetics and personal care sector in South Africa, the Department of Trade and Industry said. (AGI) .