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Coca-Cola: Africa - "The New China"

Forget China. The next big growth story in the next decade is Africa. With a population that’s fast approaching the one billion mark, Coca-Cola’s CEO Muhtar Kent believes that “Africa is really going to blossom in the next decade.” Kent wasn’t the only one to talk up Africa’s potential last week. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jasir al-Thani told Maria Bartiromo in an interview that Africa is where the growth will be.

Bartiromo caught up with Kent exclusively on the sidelines of the Clinton Global Initiativemeeting last week, where he also provided more detail on Coca-Cola’s $5 million contribution to The Clinton Foundation.

Most of the funds will go toward programs in the developing world, with a particular focus on Africa. Kent told Bartiromo that this money would go into expanding Coca-Cola’s manual distribution centers, which distribute its products in urban areas. The project currently employs 12,000 people and generates over $550 million in annual revenues. Kent hopes to increase the number employed as a result of this project to 20,000 by the end of 2010. Kent described these entrepreneurs as being Coca-Cola’s “manual distribution centers across Africa where trucks can’t go.”

In the last 10 years, Coca-Cola and its partners have invested almost $6 billion in Africa. Kent expects that figure to increase, targeting another $12 billion over the next 10 years to expand the company’s presence in the continent.

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