The company is making an impact in 22 countries in the region with its employment prospects, brands, community projects and partnerships.
It has been present in Central and West Africa (CWAR) since the 1950s and has today cemented its position in the region with seven factories and three co-packers,locally manufacturing 80% of its products sold.
Over the past five years Nestlé has invested more than CHF 640 million reaffirming its commitment to the region.
Central and West Africa is a region of many opportunities and many challenges. Nestlé wants to be part of the solution, offer its expertise and work with multiple stakeholders, including governments, civil society and academia, to make a positive, sustainable impact in all areas of its business.
Africa has one of the world’s fastest growing populations and looks set to reach about 441 million people by 2020.
Training and development
One way Nestlé is enhancing industrial development on the continent is to develop its employees’ capabilities and knowledge over the long-term.
The company provides direct and indirect employment to more than 120,000 people, including 6,722 employees and about 7,600 sales force people and sellers.
Nestlé also works with about 5,700 third party employees such as drivers and canteen workers, and more than 100,000 local farmers from which it sources its raw materials from.
Africa has one of the world’s youngest populations, with nearly half below the age of 15.
Nestlé is looking to help the next generation of young African professionals by working in partnership with local universities to recruit graduates at its Shared Services Centre in Accra, Ghana, opened in 2011, to enhance their skills in an international work environment.
The company also opened a training centre at its factory in Agbara, Nigeria in the same year to help local students and employees develop hands-on skills indifferent areas of manufacturing engineering.
It offers the students a chance to study for an internationally recognised vocational qualification over the period of 18 months.
As part of the qualification, Nestlé offered a select group of five engineers the opportunity to gain international experience in Switzerland before being earmarked for employment at Nestlé Nigeria.
The four-month scholarship was partly sponsored by the Swiss government in a first-of-its-kind agreement between Switzerland and an African country.
Nestlé is also boosting industrial development with job opportunities in the ‘My Own Business’ (MYOWBU) scheme, which was launched in 2011.
The programme, led by Nestlé Professional, the Nestlé business that supplies the food service out-of-home industry, aims to drive the Nescafé coffee brand in busy public areas such as open markets, stadiums and bus stops.
It guides operators appointed by Nestlé Professional to manage their street-vending business and gives them the tools and expertise to run their own enterprise.
They are given training on sales, management, hygiene standards, safety requirements and quality levels. The company also helps them find safe and clean kitchen areas to run their business from.
Each operator recruits and employs about 8-10 street vendors from neighbouring communities.
Each vendor is given a kit, which includes a coffee dispenser they strap on their back.
Activities are overseen by Nestlé Professional who provides operators with equipment, guidance and extra training.
More than 500 operators have joined the programme since its launch in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, boosting job opportunities for unemployed youth in the region.
About1,628 MYOWBU employees are currently working in CWAR, of whom 1,490 are women.
One employee, Alimatu Mohammed, moved from the Upper East Region of Ghana to Accra to support her family after her parents died.
She joined the scheme to become an operator and is now able to rent an apartment, fund the education for her siblings, and hopes to establish her own business venture one day.
“My dream is to build my own house and manage my own business,” she said.
MYOWBU complements another successful Nestlé employment initiative, which sees sellers use pushcarts to provide hot Nescafé drinks to consumers in local markets and neighbourhoods.