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Africa And Coca-Cola

A bottle of Coke tracks change in Africa

Issue 337

Front Page

Index
Headlines

MP Challenges TGS-NOPEC And Minerals Ministry To Become Accountable And Transparent

Somaliland's High Risk Approach To Djibouti

Somaliland Kids Die In The High Seas, What Should The Diaspora Do To Stop It?

KIDNAPPED EUROPEAN COUPLE IN SANAG REGION 'SAFE'

Somaliland Foreign Policy In Djibouti Is The Right Strategy

Somaliland Youth's Death Odyssey In The Mediterranean Sea

Somaliland - The Unknown Republic

Somaliland Hopes Election Will Lead To Recognition

Attorneys File First New Habeas Petitions Following Historic Supreme Court Ruling Protecting Guantánamo Detainees

Lundin And Range Resources In Way Over Their Heads

UNICEF Ambassador, Clay Aiken, Says Organization Is Making A Difference In Somalia Despite Difficult Circumstances

The Hour Of Reckoning Is Here For The Kibaki-Raila Government

Canadian Resident 'Asparo' Killed In Somalia

Officer's Sentence For Assault Upheld On Appeal

Regional Affairs

Illegal Migration From Africa To Yemen On The Rise

UNHCR Starts Relocation Of Refugees In Kenyan Camps

Editorial
Special Report

International News

Oil producers may cut production, Libya warns

Bush Approves Additional $32 Million for Refugees

Vibrant London demonstration against George Bush attacked by police

Guilty: Men who shot dead 15-year-old with sub-machine gun after mistaking him for his brother

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

Interview with Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, the former Somali Air Force pilot....

Government considering integration programme

World food aid plummets as prices of wheat and maize soar

African Officers to be Invited to Serve in New US Africa Command

World Refugee Day Event To Honor New Minnesotans' Tenacity, Generosity

Farrah Bokhari

JOURNALISTS IN EXILE

Survivors of an Ethiopian massacre 20 years ago revisited

Warriors in white coats

Food for thought

Opinions

Open letter to Somaliland Representative in USA

Your Editorial: "Djibouti’s Chickens...."

Somaliland, the world’s superlative democracy

Somaliland - Sleeping-walking into disaster

What better time to hope and work for change on the world stage?

The Upshot of the Somali Peace Express

Tribute to Omar Jama Ismail

 

 

Nairobi , July 03, 2008 – AFRICANS buy 36 billion bottles of Coke a year. Because the price is set so low—around 20-30 American cents, less than the price of the average newspaper—and because sales are so minutely analyzed by Coca-Cola, the Coke bottle may be one of the continent's best trackers of stability and prosperity.

“We see political instability first because we go down as far as we can into the market,” says Alexander Cummings, head of Coca-Cola's Africa division. The ups and downs during Kenya 's post-election violence this year could be traced in sales of Coke in Nairobi 's slums and in western Kenya 's villages. Events in the Middle East, such as the 2006 war between Hizbullah and Israel , can dent sales in Muslim parts of Africa , though anti-American feeling usually wears off quite quickly.

Coca-Cola says it is the largest private-sector employer in Africa . Its system of distribution, which moves the sugary drink from bottling plants deep into slums and the bush a few crates at a time, may employ around 1m Africans. A study at the University of South Carolina suggested that 1% of South Africa's economy was tied up, one way or another, in the distribution and sale of Coke. The company has been in Africa since 1928. Its outgoing global boss, Neville Isdell, grew up—barefoot, he says—in Zambia . Mr Cummings is from Liberia . In Africa , as elsewhere, the company has to defend itself from critics who accuse it of “mining water” for production, encouraging expensive and environmentally harmful refrigeration, and hurting local producers of juice and water.

At a macro-level, when Coke fails, the country whose market it is trying to penetrate usually fails too. Coca-Cola's bottling plant in Eritrea hardly works because the country's totalitarian government makes it impossible to import the needed syrup. The factory in Somalia sputtered on heroically during years of fighting but finally gave out when its sugar was pinched by pirates and its workers were held up by gunmen. Mr Cummings admits that Coca-Cola is “on life support” in Zimbabwe .

Still, if Coca-Cola's predictions are anything to go by, Africa 's future is mostly bright. The company expects sales in Africa to grow by an annual 10-13% over the next few years, handily outstripping economic growth. The biggest markets will be in petro-economies such as Nigeria and Angola , and countries like Ghana and Kenya where a middle class is emerging. Kenya 's citizens may like to know that, despite their country's many troubles earlier this year, Coca-Cola has invested $50m in a new bottling plant and $10m in new offices.

Source: TIME, July 02, 2008

 


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