Food and beverage giant Nestle on Thursday opened an $80-million factory in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, in an expansion drive targeting the world’s emerging markets.
Africa brings in three percent of the Switzerland-based multinational’s sales and plans are to double that by the turn of the decade.
“A big part of our growth will obviously come from emerging markets,” said Nestle Group’s CEO Paul Bulcke. “Africa has so many emerging consumers.”
Nigerian Vice President Namadi Sambo attended the ceremony to open the factory that will employ 180 people.
Bulcke said Nestle plans to invest $1 billion on the continent over the next two years in new plants in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique, among others.
Africa, with one billion people, is a “continent of limitless possibilities,” he said. Nigeria’s population alone is 150 million.
“Nigeria has a good internal market, Nigeria has resources,” he said. “We see Nigeria as a major growth driver of Africa’s development.”
Companies face major hurdles in oil-rich Nigeria, including an erratic electricity supply and deeply rooted corruption, but those capable of overcoming the challenges can tap into a huge market.
The new factory built on 36 hectares of rural land in Nigeria’s southwestern Ogun State is dedicated to the production of flavour-enhancing seasoning added to nearly all stews in Nigeria and many parts of West Africa.
Africa’s population, already 15 percent of the world’s total, is projected to grow by 50 percent by the year 2030.
The multinational has operations in 27 African countries, with its largest single market South Africa, followed by Nigeria.