iftineducation.com – After years of conflict, a group of Somali expats have returned home to set up the country’s first soft drinks company. Using a South African brand and locally grown fruit, the company has created its own soda flavours. Melanie Ralph reports
This soda company in Somalia is putting the fizz back into the countries’ troubled economy. Soda King is just one example of how life is returning to normal after two decades of conflict. The government is encouraging ventures like this to help rebuild the area Ahmed Guled is the General Director of the soda factory. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AHMED GULED, GENERAL DIRECTOR OF SODA FACTORY, SAYING: “Usually the production is coming from overseas especially in the Middle East that is why we decided to start this business, of course there is some challenges here and as you may know the security is not as we prefer. There is no supply chain for factory and so on but still we can manage this business.” The factory produces various soft drinks as well as filtered water, and makes up to 8000 bottled drinks per hour. As other businesses in the country grow, with the emergence of more hotels and shopping malls, so does demand. There are plans being made to expand and double output in the next year. Salah Mohamed is one of the 28 employees at the factory. (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) SALAH MOHAMED, EMPLOYEE, SODA KING FACTORY, SAYING: “My life has totally changed, since I started working for soda factory. Somali expatriates and locals have made huge investments in the country and there is good progress.” Al Shabaab ruled most of the southern region of Somalia from 2006 until 2011, when African troops marched into the capital, and ejected them. Although the outlook looks better than it did, threats remain. Western nations and Somalia’s African neighbours worry that as long as al Shabaab controls some parts of the country it will remain a threat. For now though, these Somalian residents are enjoying the fruits of their local labour.