Image by Gabi~
This week has been filled with interesting discussions with more distributors and their employees as we investigate how Coca-Cola can partner better with this group of people in addressing key issues. Having spent some time looking at how things work in Ethiopia, I’m keen to see where there are differences and similarities in the Tanzanian models.
One thing we’ve learnt very quickly is how important ‘local’ is. Each country has its unique elements and this changes slightly the way that products are distributed and the way that their businesses are run. What immediately strikes you are the obvious cultural and political differences between Ethiopia and Tanzania. But many social concerns among the people we meet are very similar – although with varying degrees of severity. The problems people talk about are unemployment, safe drinking water, poor sanitation and education – as well as general poverty-related issues. Once we have completed our data gathering we’ll be doing our utmost to find the right match between a local priority need and a possible way to harness Coca-Cola’s distribution partners for maximum impact, to try to address that particular challenge. The local bottling partner, Coca-Cola Sabco, has real clout; it operates in seven Southern and East African countries – as well as five Asian countries – and employs more than 9500 people in 25 bottling plants. We’re really encouraged that they have been very supportive of the process so far. This is vital as they have the key relationship with the distributors and the local presence to make things happen. Local matters: time spent building relationships and understanding at this stage is going to be the best investment we can make in the change process.