Ethiopia one of Africa’s most exciting markets, says Heineken

Brewing company Heineken sees Ethiopia as one of Africa’s most exciting beer markets.

So said Siep Hiemstra, Heineken’s president for Africa and the Middle East, in response to the brewer’s announcement that it has finalised the acquisition of Ethiopia’s Bedele and Harar breweries.

Heineken bought the two breweries from the Ethiopian government for US$85 million and $78 million respectively.

The two breweries have a combined market share of 18% in Ethiopia and produce brands such as Harar, Hakim Stout, Harar Sofi (malt), Bedele Premium and Bedele Special.

Ethiopia is attracting increasing attention as a business destination, so much so that Addis Ababa has been selected as the location for the 2012 World Economic Forum on Africa. “We know that many of our members from Africa and around the world are extremely interested in the opportunity to get a view of what is going on in that exciting country,” commented Robert Greenhill, managing director and chief business officer of the World Economic Forum.

Heineken said that Ethiopia’s political stability and growing economy make it a promising, long-term growth market for the company.

After Nigeria, Ethiopia has the continent’s second largest population with 85 million people. According to a statement by Heineken, Ethiopia’s beer market grew by around 20% per year over the past five years. In 2010, beer and non-alcoholic malt consumption in Ethiopia was approximately 4 litres per capita, below the global average of 27 litres.

Heineken has also noted that it plans to work closely with Ethiopia’s agricultural sector.

How we made it in Africa earlier reported that Heineken’s rival SABMiller has also invested in Ethiopia.