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Consumer-Focused Multinationals Have Beleaguered Ethiopia In Their Sights

March 12, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Heineken is getting ready to open a $127 million brewery in a few months near Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, a country beset by drought, famine and a $100/month per capita income. Unilever is planning to open a factory in the same area to make detergents, and U.S.-based Yum! Brands, owner of KFC, is pondering building fast-food restaurants in the country, the second largest in Africa after Nigeria. Despite its considerable problems, Ethiopia is attractive to big multinationals because of economic growth that is averaging 9.3 percent annually over the past four years. Some, like Unilever, are taking a long-term investment position in the country. Yum, realizing that Ethiopians may not be able to afford fried chicken yet, is taking a wait and see position, hoping to find the right investment partner.
Carol Matlack, "Is Ethiopia Ready for Fast Food and Name-Brand Soap?", BusinessWeek.com, March 12, 2014, © Bloomberg L.P.
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