Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's biggest brewer, will start building a more-than two-million-hectolitre-a-year brewery in Mozambique in the second half of next year, the company's African head has revealed.
The Mozambican investment will look to fend off competition from rival Heineken, which is in the middle of building a $100 million brewery in the southern African country.
It will also help AB InBev keep pace with demand in a market that saw growth of more than 20% in the first half of this year, Ricardo Tadeu, the company's Africa-zone president, told journalists in Johannesburg.
"It's a reflection of how much we have been adding on the continent, constantly aiming for growth and putting the money where our mouth is," Tadeu said.
He said that the company was not ready to disclose the size of its investment in the new facility, but added that the land acquired for the project would allow for further expansion of brewing capacity in the future.
AB InBev already brews the 2M and Laurentina brands in Mozambique, in another brewery.
Substantial gas reserves discovered off Mozambique's Indian Ocean coastline more than a decade ago were expected to jump-start its economy, but progress in setting up the infrastructure to tap them has been glacial, slowing the pace of investment in many sectors.
AB InBev paid roughly $100 billion to buy rival SABMiller in 2016, giving it a substantial presence on a continent of more than a billion people.
It has operations in 15 markets, mainly in Southern and East Africa, but also Ghana and Nigeria, in West Africa.
It announced plans in March to invest $100 million in a new, one-million-hectolitre-per-year brewery in Tanzania, where beer volumes jumped by a fifth last year and its local unit, Tanzania Breweries, already runs four facilities.
"We're very excited about Africa because we have experience in Latin America and Asia. Some people look at Africa and see a lot of volatility, uncertainty. We see opportunity," said AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito (pictured), who was visiting South Africa.
"For us, Africa is definitely the place to be," added Brito.