The Last Frontier
In Nigeria, 600,000 bottles of champagne were consumed in 2011. If we take into account other sparkling wines, especially from South Africa, then more than one million bottles were bought in total – meaning that consumption went up ten times in ten years.
Porsche is doing excellent business in Angola, Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria (with a dealership expected to open somewhere in East Africa in the next few years). By the end of 2012, China will have invested more in African infrastructure than the World Bank. Oil and Gas fields are being discovered all across the continent and according to Rio Tinto, diamond mines in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe are more productive than ever. Even retail multinationals are finally “taking the risk” of branching out to this last frontier. South African retailers such as Truworths, which have been very prominent in Africa since the end of apartheid, are finally getting rivalry from the US and Europe with Gap and Zara opening stores in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
With all this good news, it’s not just the Nigerians who have reason to celebrate. Of course, sparkling wines are not everyone’s cup of tea. And neither is tea for that matter. That’s why the most interesting news comes from Mozambique, where it is reported that the production of cassava beer cannot keep up with demand. In Africa, the market for home-brewed sorghum, banana and cassava beer vastly outweighs the demand of (relatively expensive) conventional beer.
SABMiller already captured the market for sorghum lager in Uganda, and now every brewery on the continent is jumping on the bandwagon trying to produce a clear banana ale. If they succeed, overall sales are expected to rise tremendously. The beer will be lower in alcohol than the current home brews, tastier, and will pose much less of a health threat. As a bonus, the continent’s top breweries will expect to employ thousands more during the next ten years. I’ll drink to that.