Coca-Cola’s Central East & West Africa Business Unit donated $1.4 million USD toward hunger relief efforts in the Horn of Africa. Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the parent company of The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Ghana donated $100,000 towards the relief effort.
At a meeting with the Kenya Red Cross, Ethiopia Red Cross and Somali Red Crescent, Nathan Kalumbu, Coca-Cola’s President for Central, East and West Africa, highlighted the need for deliberate and critical attention. “As a business with operations spanning across the Horn of Africa, we and our bottling partners strongly believe that the scale and magnitude of this crisis demands collaborative effort from all.”
According to a July report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), the Horn of Africa is experiencing the most severe food crisis in the world today. Over 12 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti are severely affected and in need of urgent life-saving assistance. Currently, there is no likelihood of this situation improving until 2012.
In Kenya, the Red Cross issued a national drought and emergency appeal at the beginning of the year to which Coca-Cola responded financially with a donation of Ksh. 3 million. Since then, the Coca-Cola system has remained engaged in the greater Horn of Africa region with the aim of providing support to humanitarian agencies.
Kalumbu and leaders of the various Coca-Cola bottlers in Kenya called on governments, civil society and the private sector to remain constructively discontent in an effort to find long term solutions to the perennial problem. “None of us can do it alone, it is my firm belief that we should move quickly and work together to develop sustainable, home-grown solutions to this crisis.”
Kalumbu also commended the efforts of Kenya’s public and private sector for their immense contribution to those suffering in various parts of the nation. “Our values and culture have always stressed a responsibility to engage with communities. We recognize that to have a sustainable business, the communities we serve must be sustainable, and we believe we have a role to play in making this happen,” Kalumbu urged.
The funds – contributed from The Coca-Cola Foundation, Company bottling partners and employees – will be administered by the Kenya Red Cross, Ethiopia Red Cross and Somali Red Crescent and used for the provision of water, basic food and critical medicines with a special focus on children. Significant portions of the funds will be administered in Kenya as the country grapples with twin problems of its own food challenges as well at the support it is giving to its neighbor, Somalia.
Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa has its headquarters in Nairobi and covers 39 countries on the continent representing East and Central Africa, Southern Africa (excluding South Africa), the Horn and Islands, Nigeria and French West Africa.