Officials in South Sudan are welcoming a new East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) facility that is set to open this year in Juba, saying it will create hundreds of jobs in the area.
But some locals say it's not a good idea, claiming it will boost alcohol-related problems. They want food or clothing plants to be built instead.
EABL produces brands like Tusker beer and Smirnoff vodka in several east African countries. The company also bottles soft drinks.
Manase Lomole, the deputy governor of Central Equatoria, says building a new EABL brewery in Juba would be an economic boon. South Sudanese would fill 80 percent of the brewery’s positions, he said.
‘’We welcome East African Breweries in Juba to provide development and employment to our young people," he said.
But some Juba residents don't want a brewery in their backyard. They're worried it will bring with it a spike in alcohol abuse.
‘’Why does our government always want to invest in something that brings problems to the society? Why don’t they invest in something that benefits the society?’’ John Abneim asked.
The South Sudan Medical Review reported last year that alcohol abuse is on the rise.
The governor of Lakes State in central South Sudan recently banned the sale of alcohol, saying it was increasing insecurity in the area.
Abneim said the government would do better to recruit food and clothing manufacturers to South Sudan.
Jojo Bonney, the director of corporate relations for EABL, said the company will partner with the ministry of health to promote a safe drinking campaign.
‘’We believe in responsible consumption of alcohol. We will work together with the ministry of health to avoid [the] ill effects of alcohol consumption and irresponsible drinking habits,’’ Bonney said.
EABL is the second international company planning to produce beer and soft drinks in Central Equatoria, the South Sudanese state that includes Juba.
South Sudan Beverages Limited, owned by South Africa’s SABMiller, launched in the state in 2009.