South Africa may be the spiritual home of SABMiller – but our business on the continent also spreads much further north

Our breweries in a range of African countries are generating long-term benefits for both the company and national economies with on-going investment in new facilities demonstrating a thirst for growth region-wide.

Ghana

Our Ghanaian subsidiary, Accra Brewery Limited (ABL), officially opened its new facilities last week, which have been upgraded as part of a US$100m expansion project at its existing site in the centre of Accra. 

The opening marked the completion of the first phase of the expansion project, which will see ABL double its brewing capacity and has created 100 new jobs at the brewery, adding to the existing local workforce of just over 500. 

Phase one includes installation of new packaging-lines, 10 beer storage vessels, warehouse and storage facilities and two new autonomous power generators. The second phase of the project will include installation of a new effluent treatment plant, new brewing equipment and upgrading the municipal water supply, as well as other upgrades on the site to be completed before the end of 2015.

Nigeria

Onitsha brewery, in the south east of Nigeria, opened in 2012 after we made an initial investment of over US$100m. Due to our growth and the success of local brand Hero Lager, we announced the expansion of Onitsha brewery in January 2014. We’re investing a further US$110m to triple Onitsha’s annual capacity from 700,000 to 2.1 million hectolitres, and upon completion in 2015 the brewery will employ a further 200 people. 

Namibia

Our first Namibian brewery produced its inaugural brew in September 2014. The event marked a significant milestone for SABMiller Namibia, which previously imported all its beer from neighbouring South Africa. The new US$33.3m, 260,000 hectolitre brewery in Okahandja created 165 new jobs and it is one of our most efficient and environmentally friendly breweries for its size.

Zambia

Sourcing enough quality barley for malting had been an issue in Zambia since supply from neighbouring Zimbabwe ceased in 2009. But a programme of growing trials with a group of ambitious farmers achieved excellent results, such that Zambia is now self-sufficient in barley production.  

With the barley sector established, we have taken the logical next step of investing in a Zambian malting plant. Construction began in October 2014 and when complete the plant will meet local demand and export surplus to other markets in Africa. It is predicted to save Zambia around US$10m a year in import costs and will help sustain some 12,000 rural jobs that in part depend on the barley farming programme.

We’ve also recently invested US$26m to upgrade our opaque beer brewery in Lusaka. The revamped plant, which dates back to the 1960s, will soon be using cutting-edge technology to brew beers that are deeply rooted in African tradition. With an annual production capacity of 1 million hectolitres, the equivalent to 267 million bottles a year, the development will create employment opportunities for up to 260 Zambians.

South Africa 

As for our spiritual home, The South African Breweries (SAB) has invested US$60m in a new state-of the-art maltings plant in Alrode, Gauteng. SAB currently sources about 65% of its barley locally and, once the new maltings plant is up and running, this will potentially increase to between 90% and 95%.