The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners will invest 187 million US dollars (about 300bn/-) in Tanzania over the next three years as part of an aggressive growth plan aimed at tapping emerging opportunities in the Non-alcoholic Ready to Drink (NARTD) beverages market.
The US-based global company’s Chairman & CEO Mr Muhtar Kent made the announcement in Dar es Salaam over the weekend during his tour of the country. He was making his first official trip since taking the helm of the company in 2008. During his tour, Mr Kent held a series of meetings with staff, bottling partners, customers, government officials and NGOs.
He said his visit came at a time when Africa is undergoing an economic transformation, citing new investments in infrastructure, the phenomenal growth of the telecoms industry, the rising middle class and the burgeoning teen population as some of the indicators that Africa is the next frontier for business.
“Our belief in this continent is enduring and unshakable. In fact, I believe Africa is one of the great untold–or at least under-told–economic stories of this decade. We’ve been operating in Africa since 1928, and this continent remains a critical market for Coca-Cola”, he said, adding:
“We also recognize Africa’s extraordinary growth potential, which is one reason we plan to spend significantly in the continent during this decade. Africa’s growing middle class and increasingly younger population creates growth opportunities for our business”, he said.
The visitor said The Coca-Cola Company has so far invested over 358 million dollars (about 570bn/-) in Tanzania in the past three years alone. The new investments, he said, would mainly go into manufacturing and distribution infrastructure and marketing with the aim of enhancing its competitiveness in a market that is witnessing one of the highest GDP growth rates in Africa. Last year, Tanzania’s economy grew by an average of 6.5%, way above the African average of 5.5%.
Kent said that in the past decade, The Coca-Cola Company had invested over 6 billion dollars in Africa and projects to invest another 12 billion dollars by 2020 as part of the company’s plan to double its business globally – in revenue, servings and volume. The Coca-Cola Company has three bottling partners in Tanzania- Kwanza Bottlers (Dar es Salaam), Bonite Bottlers (Moshi) and Nyanza Bottlers (Mwanza) and a portfolio of soft drinks, water, juice and energy drinks.
Kent hinted that by improving manufacturing capacity, the company will be well placed to introduce new brands in the market to offer consumer choice and bolster category growth.
The Coca-Cola Company is one of the major investors in Tanzania, contributing over TShs103 billion ($72.4 million) in value addition to the Tanzanian economy annually and supports the employment of more than 91,000 – an estimated 2,700 directly and nearly 70,000 in the system’s supply chain.
The Coca-Cola Company has also invested in several water and sanitation programmes across the country in partnership with Government, NGOs and development organizations.