21 August 2006International beverage giant Coca-Cola is relocating its Africa group head office from Windsor in the UK to Johannesburg, a move seen as a clear signal of the company’s commitment to the African market, and South Africa in particular.“The commercial aviation infrastructure, the telecoms infrastructure, the whole commercial environment is improving across Africa, and now is the right time for us to move our base to Africa, and Johannesburg is the location of choice,” Alex Cummings, president of Coca-Cola South Africa, said on the Moneyweb Power Hour.South Africa is by far Coca-Cola’s largest market in Africa, two-and-a-half times that of the second biggest, Nigeria. It makes up 40% of the company’s African revenue.In 2005, Coca-Cola’s South African turnover grew by 8% to 10% – a higher rate than GDP, which stood at 4.9%.“South Africa … has the most developed infrastructure,” Cummings said. “South Africa is our biggest business and, frankly, Johannesburg is the business capital of South Africa. And so if we’re going to move to South Africa, Johannesburg was the logical place to base our offices.”The move to Johannesburg will integrate the group’s leadership with the 60 000 associates who make up the Coca-Cola System in Africa, and bring its leadership closer to customers, suppliers and business partners.The Coca-Cola Company first entered Africa in 1928 with a beverage manufacturing plant based in South Africa. Since 2000 the company and its bottling partners have invested more than U$600-million in plants, manufacturing and distribution across the continent.Painting Africa redAccording to company statistics, Coca-Cola sells an average of 235 beverages, of all products, to each man, woman and child in South Africa every year – a rough total of over 10-billion units. The world per capita average is 77 units.In an article on brandchannel.com titled Painting South Africa R, Ron Irwin argues that Coke’s success in Africa “has been due to its savvy advertising as well as its ubiquitous involvement in local community life.“City dwellers in South Africa cannot fail to notice the Coke signs installed in every shop and roadside stand, but Coke has taken the initiative to reach poorer South Africans in rural areas as well. To this end it has initiated sports sponsorships, sports development, entrepreneurial development, scholarships and education projects.“It has also relentlessly found ways to get its products trucked into even the most remote corners of Africa, and has cultivated a reputation for corporate honesty and openness that has won the respect of African businesspeople from Cape Town to Madagascar.”Coca-Cola Africa’s group office relocation will begin in January 2007 and should be complete by June of that year.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
Uttar Pradesh’s madrasas have been asked to photograph and videograph Independence Day celebrations this year.While madrasas have criticised the order, calling it an attempt to test the patriotism of Muslims, government officials claimed that the move was only to document the best programmes held in madrasas on August 15. The controversy was triggered by a circular issued by the Madrasa Shiksha Parishad (MSP), the board that deals with examinations in madrasas, on August 3. The document laid out elaborate directions on how Independence Day celebrations should be conducted in madrasas.The circular was issued to the deputy directors (minority welfare) and district minority welfare officers, who would then ensure the implementation of the order. In directing madrasas to conduct “photography and videography” of the programmes, the MSP has argued that it was to identify the “best programmes” so that they could be “replicated”.Madrasas have accused the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government of attempting to test the patriotism of Muslims. Mahtab Amrohi, manager of the Mehraj-ul-Uloom madrasa in Amroha, said the government’s monitoring was aimed at “creating suspicion” about Muslims. Not only did madrasas have a tradition of singing the national anthem on August 15, even on other days of the year, daily proceedings at his institution began only after the singing of the anthem, he said. Heads of madrasas also questioned why the government had not issued similar orders to other institutions run by the State, and to other religious communities.Suhebur Rehman, the Allahabad-based convener of the All-India United Ulema Forum, said the BJP government was “targeting Muslims” by asking them to produce “proof” of their patriotism.”Have they sent a similar notice to Sanskrit schools, municipalities, schools, colleges and other institutions? Why are they examining the patriotism only of Muslims,” asked Mr. Rehman.Government officials defended the circular. “The order was issued with a good intention. It clearly says that the videography is for the purpose of promoting good programmes,” said Rahul Gupta, registrar, Madrasa Shiksha Parishad, who issued the order.He dismissed the idea that the circular was to test patriotism in madrasas. “Not at all. We have defined each and every step. In fact, we don’t mind if there are anomalies or discrepancies in following the directions,” Mr. Gupta said.