By Dipo Olowookere
The list of top 10 biggest beer drinking countries in Africa has been released by a market research group called Global Data, formerly known as Canadean and the lead spot was occupied by Nigeria, the most populous nation in the continent.
As a result of its population, Nigeria led the chart with 12.28 litres of beer consumed per year.
Beer makes up just 16 percent of alcohol consumption in Nigeria, while other drinks make up 84 percent due to the high popularity of home-brewed beverages.
Africa is by far the fastest growing region for beer consumption and research showed that over 5 percent annual growth of beer consumption in Africa, compared with 3 percent for Asia and less than 1 percent for Western Europe.
“There is untapped potential,” Global Data Analyst Andrew Curran said, noting that although, Ivory Coast is outside the top 10 beer consuming countries in Africa, it is showing more or less matching growth rates to the top 10.
Nigeria is being followed on the top 10 beer consuming countries in Africa by Uganda, which consumes 11.93 litres per year; Botswana is third, with 7.96 litres per year, leaving Kenya in the fourth position, with 9.72 litres per year.
While Namibia and Burundi consume 9.62 litres per year and 9.47 litres per year, respectively, South Africa and Gabon consume 9.46 litres per year and 9.32 litres per year, respectively.
Rwanda consumes 9.10 litres of beer per year, while Tanzania consumes 7.7 litres of beer per year.
However, Global Data’s research identified Ivory Coast as one of the continent’s most dynamic economies, with annual growth of over 8 percent, and her beer market is also expected to expand.
“The Ivory Coast is outside the top 10 beer consuming countries in Africa, but it is showing more or less matching growth rates to the top 10,” the report said, adding that Ivory Coast has also gained importance since the recent merger between rivals SAB Miller and InBev.
According to Curran, SAB Miller and InBev have consolidated their dominance in South Africa and forced Heineken to focus on the francophone West.
He believes that success in the Ivory Coast could lead to further gains in the region, such as in Burkina Faso and Benin,
Global Data’s report of Ivory Coast’s push to the top 10 biggest beer drinking countries in Africa came on the heels of Dutch multinational Heineken’s investment of $160 million in the West African country’s beer market.
Heineken recently launched a new brewery named Brassivoire in association with distribution specialists CFAO on the outskirts of the Ivorian economic capital Abidjan.
The $160 million state-of-the-art facility has capacity to produce 160 million liters of beer a year. The brewery will produce Heineken Ivoire beer, the result of extensive research into local tastes.
Brassivoire has around 200 highly-skilled local employees, who have received over 3000 hours of training between them, according to General Manager Alexander Koch.
The Dutch beer giant Heineken, which is the world’s second largest brewer, is targeting the Ivory Coast, and has said that its Ivoire brand has been well received and intends to scale up production.
The vast majority of beer consumers in Ivory Coast are provided by French company Castel Groupe, which owns popular brands including Solibra, Flag and Castel. Castel Groupe previously held near monopoly on Ivorian beer market.
However, with the inauguration of a new $160 million state-of-the-art plant, Heineken has made an ambitious play for the fast-growing Ivorian beer market.
“It (Ivory Coast) has a young population, a high rate of urbanization – almost 50 per cent already – a dynamic economy and there is only one player so far,” says Heineken CEO Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer.
What this means is that the battle for the soul of Ivory Coast’s beer market may have commenced. Already, Heineken believes its new Ivoire beer can eat into Castel’s market share, with its relatively low price and a product designed for local consumers.
“We researched for years,” Koch said, adding, “We developed the bottle, the name, the color code, even the recipe together with the Ivorian consumer.”
He said the new beer has performed well so far, and production will soon increase. “The Ivoire brand has had an incredibly good reception from the Ivorian consumer,” Koch stated, adding, “We are currently running at full capacity and will bring forward some of our investments to meet demand.”
Source: The Nation
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