African business, politics and lifestyle
Africa as flavour of the month, or the decade?
A new sort of hut could be popping up in parts of Africa soon – one serving pizza – as Yum! Brands becomes the latest global giant to announce ambitious plans for growth on a continent where nobody seemingly wants to be left behind.
While some may think African asset prices a bit overhyped, there is certainly plenty of appetite for the long term view that this will be a continent with growing business opportunities and an increasingly large number of people ready and able to splash out on Western brands.
The beauty for some Western companies is that brands seen as towards the lower end of the scale at home offer something wealthier emerging market consumers still aspire to.
“Africa was not even on our radar screen 10 years ago, but now we see it exploding with opportunity,” David Novak, Yum’s chief executive was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal.
The keen interest in Africa runs across industries.
Citigroup, in Africa since the 1950s, said this week it was looking at expanding its presence focusing on investment and corporate banking. Chief Executive Vikram Pandit was in Africa to make the point – just weeks after JP Morgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon said in South Africa how impressed he was by Africa’s opportunities.
Yum Brands said it planned to more than double its revenue from Africa to $2 billion in the next four years and expects to double its number of KFC outlets on the continent to 1,200. Nigeria, Namibia, Mozambique, Ghana, Zambia were among countries identified for growth for brands which could also include Pizza Hut and Taco Bell among others.
Although I’m happy to munch on the Colonel’s chicken every now and then, I’m not sure it competes with such continental chicken specialties as Poulet Yassa or à la Moambe.
It remains to be seen whether Long John Silver’s Treasure Chest Family Meals, Freshside Grilles and Buttered Lobster Bites would fare well in Mozambique’s capital Maputo, a city some visit in search of what may be among the best fresh-grilled seafood in the world.