Heineken in Africa; A Multinational Unleashed

The company was founded in 1873 in Amsterdam, Netherland. Such as Coca-Cola company in the USA, Heineken is  the flagship of the Dutch industry. With Its presence in 170 countries, the company is a perfect model of globalization.  In this first book, Olivier van Beemen, a Dutch investigative journalist tells of Heineken dealings on the African continent. After more than 2 years of research conducted in twelve countries in Africa, the author highlights the practices of a multinational in a part of the world where states are often failing: collaboration with dictators, even war criminals, tax evasion, corruption of elites, etc. For example the story of how it’s using a mysterious Belgian operating company to avoid tax; and how the company is linked to human rights violations and high-level corruption.

He tells precisely the mechanisms that allow Heineken to achieve a financial margin of 50% above the world average in this market, while claiming to participate in the economic development of the African continent.

After three years of research and hundreds of interviews, Olivier van Beemen concludes that Heineken’s presence has hardly benefited the continent at all, and may in fact be rather harmful. He show how Heineken faced considerable competition from indigenous beer brewing, which it tried to crush.

Heineken has managed to impose its own story: that of fire bearer who, despite the obstacles related to the lack of the necessary infrastructure in Africa which beside its interests has work to uplift the population on the continent.  But the opposite is true: the lack of adequate marketing policies or health regulations have been an advantage that the firm has made the most of, without ever taking into account the damage caused by alcohol abuse to the economies and communities in which it operates.

 

Author website: https://heinekeninafrika.wordpress.com/heineken-in-africa/

Review by Raïs Neza Boneza

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