Ricardo Tadeu, the zone president of AB InBev Africa and SAB, shows two of the brands from its eight-pack of African beers. Photo: Supplied
Durban - Multinational beverage and brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is gearing itself up for increased beer demand from African countries, according to Ricardo Tadeu, the zone president of Africa: AB InBev and South African Breweries (SAB).

Tadeu was speaking on the sidelines of SAB’s launch of an eight-pack of beers from different African countries in Johannesburg. The eight-pack would be exported to global markets such as the US and China.

“What we want from Africa is (beer) volume growth that is above the world average. We believe that, in terms of GDP, the economies of African countries are going to grow at an average higher than the average of the world. We expect higher economic growth,” said Tadeu.

He said Africa had a youthful population. “We will have much more people coming into legal drinking age in the coming years,” he said.

“But it is not a straight line. There is some volatility expected, but for someone who works with beer, this is the best place to be. That is for sure,” he said.

Penetrate

He said AB InBev would use SABMiller’s existing logistics to penetrate the African market.

Tadeu said AB InBev had started implementing some of the public interest commitments it made as part of the deal to acquire SABMiller. He cited investments in agriculture among the initiatives the company has commenced implementing.

“We have created an agrobusiness unit that will focus on differences programmes. We have a commitment of sustaining a number of jobs in the next five years.

"There was a commitment in terms of competition making sure our fridges had space for craft beer whenever the tavern did not have specific beer for different brands. All of those things have been implemented already. "

When it recommended the approval of the AB InBev-SAB Miller merger, the Competition Commission expressed its concern about the effect of the deal on craft brewers. AB InBev undertook to the commission that retail outlets and taverns which were solely supplied by it with beverage coolers or refrigerators were free to provide at least 10 percent of the capacity of one such beverage cooler or refrigerator in such retail outlets or taverns, to the beer products of small beer producers.

Read also: Africa the new frontier for AB InBev

“The good thing is that we do not think that those commitments are a problem. We think that they come as opportunities for us as well. For instance in the case of agriculture, today some of our raw material is imported and that comes with a higher cost.

"If we can develop local agriculture and become 100 percent locally sourced, that would have a benefit for us on the production cost side. So that will be an investment but we will also be beneficiaries,” he said.

He said the merger did not result in the paralysis that sometimes came with major mergers and integrations.

“That did not happen."

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