Photo credit: IFC
An investment from IFC and GAFSP announced today in Kings Beverages, a Sierra Leonean producer of soft drinks and fruit juices, will help the company boost production, create jobs, and strengthen local agriculture value chains through increased sourcing from local farmers.
The $5 million loan, which includes $2.5 million from IFC and $2.5 million from the Private Sector Window of GAFSP, the Global Agriculture Food and Security Program, will enable Kings to complete construction of its factory in Freetown, introduce new fruit juice products, and double its number of employees to 250 over the next three years.
The company, which runs Sierra Leone's largest automated beverage plant, will also increase its sourcing from 40 to 150 local fruit farmers by 2025. The expansion is also projected to create 2,600 induced and indirect jobs throughout the agriculture value chain in Sierra Leone.
IFC will complement its investment—its first in Sierra Leone's agribusiness sector—with advisory services to strengthen Kings' occupational health and safety practices, financial and social management, corporate governance, and resource-use efficiency. Additionally, IFC will help build the capacity of smallholder farmers in food safety, environmental and social standards, and productivity.
“IFC's investment gives us the long-term financing we need to build our capacity to serve the fast-growing domestic market and develop a robust supply chain for a sustainable business,” said Kishore Kumar Parwani, CEO of Kings Beverages.
“IFC's partnership with Kings Beverages will strengthen the manufacturing and agriculture sectors in Sierra Leone, creating jobs and supporting farmers. The investment reflects IFC's commitment to helping Sierra Leone strengthen its economy after the global shock of COVID-19,” said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC's Senior Country Manager for Sierra Leone.
The agribusiness sector is especially important in Sierra Leone, employing nearly 60 percent of the country's labor force and making a significant contribution to GDP.
IFC's strategy in Sierra Leone includes a focus on agribusiness, energy, the financial sector, and mining and also highlights the increasing role of the digital economy in improving efficiencies and productivity.
This article was originally published by IFC.