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Robert Bosman (Photo: capitalEthiopia.com)
Robert Bosman (Photo: capitalEthiopia.com)

The Ethiopian beer market is growing. The market practically doubled over the last 5 years but the per capita consumption is still relatively low compared to other East African markets. The main drivers are a growing population, urbanization and rising incomes. Interested in exploiting this trend, HEINEKEN, in 2011, acquired Harar and Bedele Breweries. In 2012 the construction of a new greenfield brewery was announced, which will be operational in 2014.

HEINEKEN’s Robert Bosman who is Senior Director Supply Chain, Region Africa & Middle East (AME) was in Ethiopia to asses his company’s performance here. He sat down with Groum Abateto talk about the general business environment. Excerpts:

Capital: Can you explain to me the purpose of your visit?
Robert Bosman:
 Maybe it is better to first describe what my role in Heineken is. I am part of the Africa-Middle East group. I am the Supply Senior Director responsible for those regions. Since Ethiopia is a part of that, I make regular visits. It is part of my job to travel to the plants and see how they are performing. It is through these visits that we identify what the plants need and we provide support accordingly.

Capital: How is the competition in the region generally?
Bosman:
 As you know Africa, in the last 5 to 10 years has really been growing fast and I think the big brewers that were active on the continent discovered the potential and all of them are investing left and right. Diageo, Castel, SAB Miller these all do similar things looking for the business potentials and based on the assessments of those potentials they invest in different countries.

Capital: So what do you think of Harar and Bedele’s performance now after you acquired it?
Bosman: 
When you compare world class performance, and African performance it needs improvement. Since we came, we had discussions with the local people and we tried to improve on the performance side to increase the output of the product and to enrich the quality. Heineken has three basic values which we really cherish. One of them is passion for quality and I think the consumers should have the best quality possible. This is what we try to achieve now with Harar and Bedele.

Read more at: Capital Ethiopia

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