Nairobi — Soft drink giant Coca Cola is finally putting up a Ksh700 million ($10.4 million) headquarters building to oversee its operations in 27 East and Central African countries, after years of shuffling its regional offices.
The Nairobi office is responsible for Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Reunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, St Helena, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The ground breaking ceremony in Nairobi's Upper Hill area was led by Kenya Vice President Moody Awori and Nathan Kalumbu, Coca Cola's president and chief executive for Coca Cola East and Central Africa.
Mr Kalumbu said the new headquarters will end the perennial problem the organisation has faced of having its operations housed in three different buildings in the Kenyan capital. This has adversely affected fast decision making and collaboration.
Some of our employees are housed at the Old Mutual Building in the Central Business District, another group is at Britak Centre, and the third is at Symbion House, next to Don Bosco Catholic Church. This has proved to be a real challenge in terms of teamwork and rental costs among others," said Mr Kalumbu. "So we undertook to find a way of consolidating our employees into a single building in order to improve productivity and teamwork as well as contain the rising costs arising from working separately."
Coca Cola has had a presence in Africa since 1928, when its first bottling plant was established in Johannesburg. In the rest of Africa, Coca Cola, the soft drink, was first produced after the Second World War. The business has been continually expanding ever since.
With its track record in marketing innovation, Coca Cola's proposed new head office is a vote of confidence in the newly expanded East African Community with its population of over 110 million people.
"Over the last eight months, our building consultants and ourselves have worked extremely hard to develop the new building design that we have, because we knew it highlights our tremendous strengths in these markets, as in many others, in a strategic and compelling way. It is the key to fulfilling our collective vision for a brighter and more prosperous business," he said.
The building is expected to be complete by June 22, 2008, a year from the ground breaking.