global leader in the beverage industry, Coca-Cola Co. has announced the opening of a $15 million bottling plant in Somaliland.

Coca-Cola’s pioneer investment drive into the  breakaway enclave of Somalia is part of its strategy to win more African consumers by investing $12 billion in the continent by 2020, the company disclosed on Wednesday.

The company’s regional president, Nathan Kalumbu, expressing optimism at the development, quipped: “The investment will create an estimated 135 direct jobs and 2,500 indirect jobs, and will contribute to a healthy distribution and retail sector in Somaliland. Our commitment to the continent of Africa remains enduring and unshakable.”

The production plant is the first major industrial investment for the enclave, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but has not been recognised internationally.

Coca-Cola also indulged in a joint-venture investment with Somaliland Beverage Industries, however the venture is based on a franchise agreement.

Chairman of Somaliland Beverage, Ahmed Guelleh was of the opinion that plant would help build a manufacturing capacity for the breakaway enclave.

Other business interests in Somaliland have also caught the eye of foreign firms, especially oil and gas exploration and construction.

The East African region, otherwise known as the Horn of Africa, has been in the news regularly as its emerging market continues to attract FDIs and investors from varied sectors; with the gradual awakening of its economy the region is poised for rapid development in all spheres.

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