The confluence of technology, science and innovation at the country’s largest brewer, Zambian Breweries, has impressed Minister of Technology and Science Felix Mutati.
During a tour of the company’s Mungwi Road plant in Lusaka the minister was marvelled by the digital transformation taking place.
Manufacturing is a critical drive for creating entrepreneurs and other business opportunities, contributes 10% of GDP. The Zambian government’s ambition is that by 2030 manufacturing should add 30% to GDP.
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Mr Mutati acknowledged Zambian Breweries’ drive to create a future with more cheers through its steps to harness technology to improve efficiency and productivity; together with elimination of waste was highlighted through the tour.
“Zambian Breweries has an eco-system where everyone benefits. Zambian Breweries makes earnings, the Zambian people also earn, and the government as well earns. Everybody takes something from the Zambian Breweries table. This is the ecosystem that we need to preserve,” said the minister.
“The innovation is value addition and also local sourcing of material. Your inputs are from the small-scale farmers that are now aggregated and are the ones that are creating that future with more cheers,” he told executives.
Zambian Breweries Country Director Michelle Kilpin explained that its enhanced technology was part of its parent AB InBev’s global strategy to lead and grow the beer sector, digitise and monetise the eco-system and optimise its business.
The nation’s largest brewer wishes to have 100% of its direct farmers skilled, connected and financially empowered by applying technology throughout its value chain, from connectedness to financial empowerment.
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“Zambian Breweries needs to work hand-in-hand with the government in order to grow the economy, to create a platform where we all can win. Ultimately the investment we have announced is testimony to the confidence created by the new dawn government. As a corporate citizen we are optimistic in working with the ministry and government at large in order to create a future with more cheers,” said Ms Kilpin.
Corporate Affairs Director Ezekiel Sekele said: “We are able to digitise the ecosystem running through the entire value chain, from seed to sip.”
“Zambian Breweries is working with small scale farmers from Northern and Luapula provinces. The use of technology in our smart agriculture has not only helped us but the people of Zambia too. We would love to extend connectedness to sorghum farmers as well. The vulnerable but very valuable small-scale farmers of our country,” Mr Sekele added.
Zambian Breweries Mungwi Road plant head Albert Malunga said: “The new investment of US$80 million is happening on the ground throughout our production. It has brought empowerment, job creation and local employees. The use of machines and installation is all done by the local people of Zambia.
Mr Mutati told the company: “The New Dawn government is focused on creating confidence as a basis for pumping up investment. Zambian Breweries has gone beyond the confidence; you are confident in the New Dawn government, and in consequence you are expanding your investment in the plant.”
“That is the reason we have created the Public-Private Dialogue Forum: for the private sector and the public sector to sit together to address issues affecting the manufacturing industry with regard to regulation, administrative inconveniences and barriers to resolve,” he added.
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“Today’s government believes it is critical to create an enabling environment. The approach of the New Dawn government is to be consultative at arriving at a sustainable solution that doesn’t derail investment in the manufacturing sector, but we also want to achieve a proposition where we eliminate the illicit products in manufacturing sector. Our solution can only be brought about through technology,” said the minister.