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Coca-Cola inaugurates its 'mega' factory in Ethiopia which is set to produce more than 100 million cases a year

Coca-Cola inaugurates its 'mega' factory in Ethiopia which is set to produce more than 100 million cases a year. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Coca-Cola inaugurates its 'mega' factory in Ethiopia which is set to produce more than 100 million cases a year. Picture: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Published Jun 7, 2022

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Cape Town - American multinational beverage corporation Coca-Cola has opened a new $100 million bottling plant at Sebeta in Ethiopia.

The company said in a statement that the new venture will unlock export opportunities, increase local production and ease foreign exchange constraints as it will add 500 employees to the workforce of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) in the country.

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The inauguration of the Sebeta Dima Coca-Cola factory was attended by government representatives, accompanied by CCBA Ethiopia Managing Director Daryl Wilson, CCBA CEO Jacques Vermeulen and Africa President for The Coca-Cola Company Bruno Pietracci.

Completion of the bottling plant brings CCBA’s production capacity in Ethiopia to more than 100 million cases a year, and will enable the company to integrate the production of inputs such as preforms, closures and other materials, as well as the local production of new products such as Minute Maid Juice, thus reducing imports and adding to national GDP.

Wilson said the opening of the new plant in Sebeta was another proud milestone in CCBA’s growth in the country and the investment demonstrates confidence in the Ethiopian economy.

“The first Coca-Cola bottle was manufactured in 1959 in Addis Ababa in the Abinet Area.

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“Since then, Coca-Cola has built a very strong local business in Ethiopia over more than six decades of investment, creating shared opportunity for communities and employees as it continues to grow.

“We are proud to work with thousands of small businesses throughout the country to serve the millions of Ethiopians who choose to enjoy our products each day.

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“We hire locally, produce and distribute our products locally and are increasingly sourcing locally through local farmers, suppliers and retailers,” Wilson said.

Construction of the Sebeta plant began in 2019, following the announcement of a $300 million investment over five years to expand CCBA’s operations in Ethiopia. A sixth plant is planned at Hawassa.

This commitment was reaffirmed when The Coca-Cola Company Chairman and CEO, James Quincey, visited Ethiopia in 2020, accompanied by Vermeulen.

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“CCBA is a proud industry leader in developing increasingly sustainable ways to produce, distribute and sell our products,” said Vermeulen.

“We aim to create greater shared opportunity for the business and our host communities across the value chain. This is about more than just money, it’s about a better future for people and their communities everywhere on the African continent,” Vermeulen said.

“Through our investments in Ethiopia, we have grown direct employment opportunities from 1 000 in 2012 to over 3 500 in 2022, while more than 70 000 people are beneficiaries of our value chain,” he said.

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In line with its strong principle of doing business the right way, CCBA has constructed a school at a total cost of $236 000 in Sebeta following consultations with the community to understand their needs.

This follows the building of two state-of-the-art school blocks at Shimbit Elementary School near CCBA’s plant in Bahir Dar, benefitting 1 600 students at a total cost of $220 000.

CCBA has also set up 17 polyethylene terephthalate (PET) collection centres and trained and empowered more than 14 000 women PET collectors in the country, as well as launching a women and youth economic inclusion project in partnership with the Job Creation Commission of Ethiopia.

“Our investment in the Sebeta Dima Coca-Cola Factory confirms that we are here for the long haul, and we look forward to many more years of refreshing Ethiopia every day and making this country a better place for all,” said Vermeulen.

Pietracci said The Coca-Cola Company believes in Africa's strong potential as the next growth engine of the global economy.

“Africa has a growing and rapidly urbanising population who is brand conscious, economically active, highly connected and innovative and will drive the continent’s dynamic growth.

“Over the past 90 years in Africa, we have built a pervasive and very strong local business, creating shared opportunity in every country on the continent. This has been one of our greatest strengths and we will continue playing a significant role in Africa,” Pietracci said.

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