Drought of a different kind

Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, has run out of Coca-Cola as the credit crunch takes the fizz out of the economy.

While African countries are known for running out of petrol, soap, sugar, batteries or tyres – never has this been the case for Coke.

The East Africa Bottling Share Company, which produces the soft drink in the region, temporarily shut its bottling operation in Ethiopia during March.

It said they had the Coca-Cola – but did not have the bottle tops.

The firm, which has sent 1,000 workers on compulsory leave, said in its most recent statement that the Ethiopian government had intervened.

The company promised the familiar bottles would start rolling out of the plant again soon.

National emergency?

The Coca-Cola shortage was being treated as a national emergency as local bars ran out of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Sprite and Fanta.

Mirinda was the only soft drink on offer.

It has been estimated that around 35,000 outlets throughout Ethiopia will be unable to serve Coca-Cola and sister brands until the shortage is resolved.

Street children have reportedly been collecting the much-needed bottle tops from the streets of Addis Ababa and selling them back to companies to recycle for around $0.2 (£0.13) a kilogram.

Coca-Cola is normally on sale even in some of the most remote parts of Ethiopia and other African countries.

The continent has been largely spared the worst of the global banking crisis, but it is becoming obvious there are problems finding enough foreign exchange to keep Ethiopia’s economy running,


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