Coca-Cola’s Big Philanthropic Footprint In Africa

The Coca-Cola Company has had a presence is Africa for nearly 100 years. The Coca-Cola Foundation, Coke’s main philanthropic arm, and the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation haven't been around nearly as long, established in 1984 and 2001, respectively.

The company established the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) in response to the HIV pandemic. Coke bottlers also responded by developing one of the most comprehensive healthcare program’s around for HIV/AIDS related conditions. TCCAFs work grew to include water, health, education, youth development, entrepreneurship and humanitarian assistance efforts.

Wanting to expand its reach and “Understanding that no single organization can resolve Africa’s many issues,” in 2007 TCCAF began partnering up with other global foundations including USAID, MedShare, Discovery’s Global Education Partnership and Rotarians for Fighting AIDS. One year later, TCCAF, along with its partners, expanded to 150 community programs in 46 African Countries. Some of TCCAFs accomplishments include:

  • Committing $30 million over six years to the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), to provide more than 2 million people across Africa with access to clean drinking water by 2015.
  • Providing over $8 million worth of medical supplies and equipment to African hospitals that were becoming overburdened by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
  • Developing a distribution network to help deliver HIV/AIDS medications to people living in remote areas
  • Providing support for the nearly 150,000 HIV/AIDS orphans in eight African countries.
  • D istributing 6 million insecticide treated nets to protect over 80,000 kids from contracting malaria.

CCAF has also conducted humanitarian work in 17 African countries. These efforts have involved everything from disaster response to alleviating the impact of cholera. A large component of TCCAFs humanitarian work involves the access to, and the delivery of, essential medicines and medical supplies to public and community hospitals across the continent. Which, not coincidentally, is also a major component of giving at the company’s main philanthropic arm, the Coca-Cola Foundation.

The Coca-Cola Foundation, along with big name entities like the Gates Foundation, USAID, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, recently committed a combined $21 million to expand Project Last Mile. Project Last Mile is a government run medicine distribution network in Tanzania developed by the Gates Foundation, Accenture Development Partnerships, The Global Health Leadership Institute at Yale University and Medical Stores Department (MSD). Since it was established in 2010, Project Last Mile has:

  • Helped an estimated 20 million people have access to medicines
  • Reduced medicine delivery lead times by approximately 25 days in Tanzania
  • Improved MSDs distribution systems from 500 warehouse drop off points to the direct delivery to over 5,500 healthcare facilities
  • Improved individual healthcare facilities critical medicines order process, which increased availability by an estimated 20 to 30 percent

Initially, the Project worked in 10 African regions. This latest $21 million give will allow it to expand to other regions with Mozambique being its first stop. Speaking of the Coca-Cola Company’s contribution to the project, chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent, stated:

The success of this project demonstrates our belief in the power of civil society, government and the private sector working together to solve real global problems. It’s what we call the ‘golden triangle. This collaboration uses our global business expertise to help solve critical logistical requirements for the delivery of medicines to reach the most remote parts of Africa.

Having critical and lifesaving medicine available in Africa is only one step in a long journey. Medicines that are sitting in warehouses miles away from the people they need to reach does no good. This is where Coke’s supply chain logistics come in. Gabriel Jaramillo, General Manager of the Global Fund, touches on this issue, saying:

Unfortunately, when medicine is available, it doesn’t always reach the people who need it. Supply chains in remote parts of the world often don’t work efficiently, and that can mean that deaths that should be prevented still occur. What we noticed was that Coca-Cola’s products always seemed to get to every remote regions and we thought that if they could get their product there, with their support, maybe we could too.

Project Last Mile and RAIN aren’t the only ventures Coca-Cola and its foundation are interested in—long-term economic growth and stability are on Coke’s mind as well. So much so that the company announced a recent $5 billion investment in Africa during the first ever, US-Africa Leaders Summit.

The $5 billion investment will take place over six years, making Coke’s total investment in Africa to around $17 billion between 2010 and 2020. Here is where Coke’s business and foundation work intertwine in many ways. This latest $5 billion will go toward:

  • Creating additional jobs
  • Supporting key sustainability initiatives
  • Supporting programs focused on safe water access
  • Supporting women’s economic empowerment
  • Forwarding community well-being

Coke is also supporting sustainable sourcing in Africa and has signed a Letter of Intent to launch Source Africa. Coke will partner with New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, and Grow Africa to secure sustainable, local ingredient sourcing. Source Africa’s initial stages will focus on sustainable mango and tea production in Kenya; citrus, mango and pineapple production in Nigeria; and mango production in Malawi. If the program is successful, it will expand to Ethiopia, Senegal, Tanzania and Mozambique. Source Africa is an offshoot of Project Nurture, a nearly $12 million collaboration to support sustainable crop growth for 50,000 small-scale famers in East Africa.

Between the Coca-Cola Company, the Coca-Cola Foundation and TCCAF, when it comes to Africa, Coke is definitely all in.