Consumer goods company Vasari Global has invested $36m in the first phase of a new food production facility in Ethiopia, in order to help meet the country’s growing fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market.
In collaboration with Ethiopian company Ahadu, Vasari has inaugurated the facility for Ahadukes Food Products as part of an overall $150m investment program. The factory will initially focus on producing biscuits under the flagship Ahadu brand, taking up little more than one fifth of the total floor space at the site in Bishoftu, 20 miles southeast of Addis Ababa. It will then expand to pasta and other flour-based goods, Vasari said. The company is aiming to access more than 40,000 retailers within the next four years.
The investment follows growth in Ethiopia’s FMCG sector of $1bn per year, with Vasari adding that the sector was expected to continue growing during the next five years. Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous market after Nigeria, and in recent months companies such as Heineken and Diageo have revealed plans to enhance their presence in the landlocked country.
Ahadu founder Solomon Wondimneh said: “The joint venture between Ahadukes and Vasari Global will drive the company to become highly competitive in both domestic and international markets due to the significant global experience of Vasari Global. In addition to this, it will strengthen the company’s capital for further expansion of the investment.
“Within a three year period, Ahadukes intends to become the leading agro-processing company in East Africa. The use of high-tech machinery and production of internationally competitive quality products will benefit the country in terms of export revenue.”
Vasari Global chairman Vivian Imerman added: “Today’s inauguration is a major milestone in our long-term strategy to develop a strong, diversified consumer brands company in Africa. We are delivering quality products and introducing world class new brands into the market to capture the incredible market opportunity here in Ethiopia. Our priority is providing locally produced, well-packaged and affordably priced food products designed to appeal to local consumer tastes. We are working with an experienced and respected local partner and have been extremely encouraged by the support of the government.”
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