Unilever Global CEO expresses confidence in Kenyan market
Posted Monday, April 9 2012 at 14:51
There has been speculation that Unilever could follow the trend of other manufacturers who have relocated to cheaper business destinations.
They include Colgate Palmolive, which has moved its manufacturing to Egypt, Cadbury’s which has shifted the bulk of its chocolate making operations to south Africa and Reckitt Benckiser, among others.
The main issue has been the high cost of power, more times higher than other Comesa countries with energy subsidies, labour and inefficient infrastructure especially, the port, roads and railway which increase the cost of transporting bulk loads by manufacturers.
Unilever is consolidating its manufacturing volumes from the Kenyan factory to build economies of scale to serve an expanded regional market under the free-trading environment provided by the East African Community Common Market Protocol.
“First it means the consumer has more disposable income and therefore is able to afford the products,” Mr Polman said.
“Secondly, it also means the consumer needs have also evolved as the consumer has become more discerning and demanding. It also presents a growing opportunity to diversify portfolios.”