SIERRA LEONE – Kings Beverages, a soft drinks and fruit juices producer in Sierra Leone, has received a US$5m financial backing from international financial institution, IFC, and the Global Agriculture Food and Security Program, GAFSP.
The loan, comprising of US$2.5m from IFC and US$2.5m from GAFSP will be channelled towards completion of the company’s factory in Freetown.
This will enable King Beverages increase its production capacity and introduce new fruit juice products.
Launched in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the non-alcoholic beverages manufacturer provides clean mineral drinking water, fruit juices and carbonated soft drinks to the local market.
The investment will also double its number of employees to 250 over the next three years and strengthen the local agriculture value chains through increased sourcing from local farmers.
It is targeted that the beverage maker will increase its sourcing from 40 to 150 local fruit farmers by 2025.
Overall, the expansion is projected to create 2,600 induced and indirect jobs throughout the agriculture value chain in Sierra Leone.
“IFC’s investment gives us the long-term financing we need to build our capacity to serve the fast-growing domestic market and develop a robust supply chain for a sustainable business,” said Kishore Kumar Parwani, CEO of Kings Beverages.
Being its first investment in Sierra Leone’s agribusiness sector, IFC will complement its financial backing with advisory services to strengthen Kings’ occupational health and safety practices, financial and social management, corporate governance, and resource-use efficiency.
Additionally, IFC will help build the capacity of smallholder farmers in food safety, environmental and social standards, and productivity.
“IFC’s partnership with Kings Beverages will strengthen the manufacturing and agriculture sectors in Sierra Leone, creating jobs and supporting farmers.
“The investment reflects IFC’s commitment to helping Sierra Leone strengthen its economy after the global shock of COVID-19,” said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC’s Senior Country Manager for Sierra Leone.
The agribusiness sector is especially important in the West African country, employing nearly 60 percent of its labour force and making a significant contribution to GDP.
IFC’s strategy in Sierra Leone includes a focus on agribusiness, energy, the financial sector, and mining and also highlights the increasing role of the digital economy in improving efficiencies and productivity.
Kings Beverages runs Sierra Leone’s largest automated beverage plant and has gained significant market share becoming a well-known local brand in the market, barely two years since it commenced operations.
The company strives to foster sustainable growth and promote enduring business ties among the community with well-built supply chain ties.
It seeks to be the market leader in the soft drink space in Sierra Leone by 2025, a market that is also served by Capitol Foods Limited, maker of well-known Sierra brand.