Editor’s Note: This coverage is part of a special Marketplace Africa focus on the African presence of the world’s biggest brands, including KFC, Toyota and Nestle.
Fancy a drink of Sparletta Stoney Tangawizi? Or maybe a glass of Krest Bitter Lemon?
Those are two of over 100 drinks that Coca-Cola produces in Africa, many tailored to local taste.
The approach in each city may differ, but the company’s strategy is the same everywhere: a Coke product should always be within reach.
“It is very important that as a business we really ensure that we continue to be relevant to consumers and customers,” Nathan Kalumbu, President Coca-Cola Eurasia & Africa Group, told CNN.
Across the continent, Coke has about 3,000 small distribution centers.
“These micro distribution centers are normally run by individuals who live in the community, they employ local people and they distribute to local retailers. It is a very good system that allows us to be able to reach consumers that would otherwise be difficult in reaching because of infrastructural challenges.”
Hilda Macharia, a local Coca cola distributor, explains how the business has evolved over the years: “I started with 6,000 cases 5 years ago. This month I’m doing 32,000 cases. The pushcarts could no longer sustain the demand and the mechanization has really helped… because I’m able to get to the far end of my market in time.”
One of the largest investors in Africa
Coca-Cola’s CEO, Muhtar Kent, spoke with CNN’s Zain Asher at the company’s global headquarters in Atlanta, to discuss Coke’s growth in Africa.
“The rate of growth in Africa is higher than that of Western markets and other parts of the world, so it’ll continue to become a larger and larger part of our revenue,” he said.
Coca-Cola now has 145 bottling plants in Africa and employs over 70,000 people, and it’s one of the largest private employers in the continent.
“Last decade we invested about $5.5 billion in total in Africa. This decade we’re earmarked to invest about 17 billion. So we’re one of the largest investors on the whole in Africa.”
And what about the growth of Pepsi, which is trying to up its game especially with operations in Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya?
“We welcome competition. We think that competition is a benefit to everyone. It makes us operate better, it’s a better environment for the company, it’s a better environment for the consumer.”
Watch the videos above to find out more about Coca Cola’s strategy in the continent.