All about consumers

Meta Abo Brewery is trying to boost its market share in Ethiopia. Francis Agbonlahor is the Managing Director of Meta Abo Brewery which was recently acquired by DIAGEO, the world’s leading premium drinks company with a collection of alcoholic beverage brands across spirits, beer and wine. Capital’s Groum Abate sat down with him to talk about Meta’s expansion and the beer business in the country.

Capital: How is the beer business environment in the country now?
Francis:
 I would say the business environment is good, but it does not mean there are no challenges. The reason why we came here remains because we see Ethiopia as a strategic market. We are really privileged to be here. So overall I would say it is going well and we are dealing with challenges along the way. One issue I’m sure you are aware of also is getting the raw material for us to run production, that is one of the issues, getting foreign exchange to be able to import critical equipment and spares that we require can really be a nightmare in terms of the whole process you have to go through and the delays that results from that, that kind of bureaucracy creates a lot of challenges to international businesses like ours. But having said that, I think the Ethiopia environment remains positive, the GDP growth is still positive and it has worked out well with consumers and customers in terms of acceptance of the Meta brand and there are many more people who are switching to Meta beer, so in that respect I would say the whole environment remains positive. There are opportunities here and there are a number of challenges that we need to continue to deal with. That will be my assessment of what the business environment is like.

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