Home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies, Africa’s thirst for beer and spirits is almost unquenchable: analysts estimate beer volumes rose around 7 per cent last year. Excluding the mature South African market, growth reached more than 10 per cent.
Drinks companies want to keep up the momentum. SABMiller is investing up to $2.5-billion (U.S.) over the next five years to build and renovate breweries on the continent. Rival Diageo’s African sales have risen by an average 15 per cent in each of the last five years, and now account for 14 per cent of the group’s total.
But some public health officials say regulation of alcohol consumption and education about its abuse have failed to keep pace.
“In parallel to this increase in commercial alcohol availability, the infrastructure and regulation for effective alcohol control have no strong tradition in many African countries,” Dr. Poznyak said.