At Coca-Cola, we believe that the private sector can play a powerful role in reducing poverty – particularly by concentrating on core operations in a profitable but inclusive and responsible way.
In an earlier post, I described our commitment, as part of the Business Call to Action , to grow our network of Manual Distribution Centers – or MDCs – small independently owned businesses that now deliver over 80% of our drinks in the region. Under that commitment, we plan to increase the number of MDCs by up to 2,000 new independent distribution businesses by 2010, creating up to 8.400 new jobs and generating up to US$520 million in new revenues for local economies.
Complementing this project that focuses on our downstream supply chain, I am pleased to announce a further initiative that we will be taking in East Africa around our upstream supply chain.
In partnership with our bottling partner Coca-Cola Sabco, Technoserve and the Gates Foundation, we are launching a four-year $11.5 million initiative that will enable over 50.000 small mango and passion fruit farmers in Uganda and Kenya to increase their productivity and to participate for the first time in our Company and bottling system’s supply chain, leading to a doubling of their incomes by 2014.
This initiative is part of our desire to go beyond traditional philanthropic CSR initiatives, important as they are, by leveraging our core business activities and operational expertise to facilitate economic empowerment and entrepreneurship in developing countries, and ultimately to bring about more jobs and more prosperity.