Unilever expands African ice cream capacity

Unilever expands African ice cream capacity

Unilever has opened its ZAR600m (US$44.6m) ice cream factory in Midrand, South Africa, as part of its investment programme in the region.

Bruno Witvoet, executive vice president for Unilever's operations in Africa, said the company has invested almost ZAR4bn in updating its production capabilities in the country. "The investment in the ice cream factory is due to the market development opportunities that exist for the sector in South Africa and the rest of Africa. Close to 150 direct and 200 indirect jobs have been created since the start of the factory. A further 2,500 jobs will be created by the end of 2015 through our Ola Vendor Programme," he said at the opening ceremony. 

The Ola Vendor Programme gives micro-entrepreneurs the equipment needed to start an ice-cream vending business.

South African Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, attended the opening of the site. The DTI is providing ZAR350m in support to Unilever's investment.

Addressing delegates at the launch, Davies said: "The factory will give opportunities to smaller vendors in the value chain that will see local farmers produce most of the products and also create more local demand for most of the ingredients and suppliers. This investment will also have a positive effect in upstream and downstream movement in the economy."