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( BLACK PR WIRE) ( March 18, 2009) The Coca-Cola Company announced today that it has committed US $30MM over the next six years to provide access to safe drinking water to communities throughout Africa through its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN). Implemented by The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, RAIN will provide at least 2 million Africans with clean water and sanitation by 2015.
“Africa’s water crisis threatens the health of its population and, therefore, its prospects for economic growth,” said Muhtar Kent, President and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “Communities need strong, healthy people to thrive, and our business needs strong, healthy communities to grow and be sustainable. Helping African communities tackle their water challenges is an important priority for our Company and our bottling partners and is an area where we can make a positive and lasting impact.”
According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million Africans lack access to safe drinking water, and millions of them die each year from preventable waterborne illnesses. Up to half of the region’s population at any one time suffers from diseases related to unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation.
Between 2004 and 2015, the number of people living without access to safe water in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase by 47 million people. Africa is expected to miss the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals target for access to clean drinking water by 111 million people and the sanitation target by 289 million.
“No single organization can resolve Africa’s development challenges, but together with civic society, nongovernmental organizations and government we can make a positive difference in the lives of the people who make up our communities,” said William Asiko, President of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation currently has water projects in 19 African countries – Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia – reaching over 300,000 people.
These water projects are all implemented in partnership with local communities in each country. They also contribute to The Coca-Cola Company’s aspirational water stewardship goal of returning to communities and to nature an amount of water equivalent to what we use in all of our beverages and their production. The Company’s strategy for achieving that goal has three components:
Reduce - Improving water efficiency by 20 percent by 2012, compared to a baseline year 2004.
Recycle - Returning all water the Company uses for manufacturing processes to the environment at a level that supports aquatic life and agriculture by the end of 2010.
Replenish - Expanding the Company’s support of healthy watersheds and sustainable community water programs to balance the water used in its finished beverages.
“Having access to clean water still remains a luxury, not a given, in large parts of the continent,” Asiko said. “RAIN helps us both fulfill our environmental goals while also providing health benefits that will allow our communities and our business to grow and prosper.”
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with nearly 500 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world’s most valuable brand, the Company’s portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, POWERADE, Minute Maid and Georgia Coffee. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees.
Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate of nearly 1.6 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate.
The Coca-Cola Company has an established presence in Africa. With its first operations in South Africa in 1928, the Company currently operates in all 56 countries and territories on the continent, employing over 60,000 people in the Coca-Cola system (our Company and our bottling partners). For more information about our Company, please visit our website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com.
About The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation
Recognizing that its business is only as sustainable as the communities in which it operates, The Coca-Cola Company established The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation in 2001 to implement the Company’s community initiatives in Africa. Implementing over 130 programs in 32 countries across Africa, the Foundation’s programs have reached over 1,000,000 people since its inception.
The Foundation aims to enable healthy, prosperous communities by investing in the critical priority areas of Water, Entrepreneurship, Education and Health. The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s vision is to establish a strong base for the continent’s long-term social and economic growth, contributing to the timely attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has programs in some of Africa’s most remote locations and has been involved in a number of humanitarian relief efforts across the continent. The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s programs are also designed to enable Coca-Cola employees to contribute, either financially, through our employee-matching program, or in kind, by lending their expertise and time to the Foundation’s activities and programs.
For more information about The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, please visit www.thecoca-colacompany.com.