The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, on August 26 announced a new financing transaction with Brasserie et Limonaderies du Rwanda to support plans for expanding production of soft drinks and sourcing of maize from local farmers. Known as Bralirwa, the subsidiary of Heineken N.V. is Rwanda’s leading manufacturer of beers and soft drinks, including the Primus and Coca-Cola brands.
The $25 million loan from IFC aims to promote local maize production and increase livelihoods of 5,000 smallholder farmers by training them in modern farming methods and helping cooperatives become more professional. IFC will provide advice to Bralirwa and the European Cooperative for Rural Development (EUCORD) to develop a program to support farmers, according to IFC.
The IFC financing will contribute to the expansion and upgrade of Bralirwa’s production capacity in Rwanda, including installation of a new bottling line at the soft drinks plant in Kigali, construction of a wastewater treatment plant and improvements in energy efficiency.
Bralirwa’s expansion plan has been in effect since 2012. The company has invested close to $160 million in its beverage operations in Kigali and Gisenyi and irrigated maize farm in Ndego, Kayonza.
Boudewijn Haarsma, Chairman of Bralirwa, said “The financing from IFC is yet another milestone for Bralirwa, and a recognition of our efforts to support economic growth in Rwanda. Being a partner for growth for the Africa region is at the core of HEINEKEN’s business strategy. Bralirwa aims to increase our local sourcing of raw materials needed for our products, supporting inclusive growth, and providing farmers with a reliable source of income. It will make an important contribution to the HEINEKEN’s ‘Brewing a Better World’ ambition.’’
Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, said, “The vast majority of Rwandans live in rural areas and depend on farming for their livelihood. The agribusiness sector is essential for reducing poverty and IFC’s investment in Bralirwa will connect Rwandan farmers to markets, securing better livelihoods for them.”
Improving productivity in agriculture, promoting inclusive growth in rural areas, and helping companies find business opportunities through adoption of environmental and social best practices are part of IFC’s strategy for improving food security and rural incomes.