SABMiller is upping its focus on the “huge opportunity” for mainstream spirits in Africa by targeting more countries on the continent, and aims to help “legitimise” the category.

The company has built spirit production facilities in Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Sudan in the last 15 months, as well as buying a spirits business in Mozambique. Speaking to journalists at a presentation in London today, Mark Bowman, SABMiller's Africa MD, said: “It's a completely fragmented spirits industry across Africa with no dominant players at all, so there's a very large potential for mainstream spirits.”

A new report by Canadean expects more Africans to enter the beer market from the home brew sector, while commercial beer and premium brands forge ahead in the exploding African beer market.

According to the report, the African beer market is the fastest growing global beer market with an annual average growth rate of 5% between 2013 and 2017. This means the African beer market will outstrip growth in the Asian and Latin American markets, which are projected to witness a growth rate of 4% and 3%, respectively. South Africa is by far the biggest market in Africa, with an expected total volume of 30,921th hl in 2014, followed by Nigeria with 15,200th hl and Angola with 12,790th hl. Kevin Baker, Account Director at Canadean, says: “Africa has seen inflation fall, foreign debt shrink and GDP rise in the last few years. Moreover, population growth – once feared as a major contributor to poverty – is now perceived as an asset, with the working age population set to outgrow that of China and India.”

If you thought global insecurity was at an all-time high last year, then the World Economic Forum (WEF) has some bad news.

At the launch of a new report last week, experts from the international organisation, which hosts the annual Davos meet-up, admitted that while 2014's global risks do not concern them as much as before, that's only because this year they have been overtaken by far more dangerous threats to world safety.

Not happy in your job? Feel like you can’t get ahead. A new study by CIBC Economics says you may have ample reason.

CIBC says its index of Canadian employment quality is at a 25-year low, and nothing the Bank of Canada can do to adjust interest rates is likely to fix the situation.
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In fact, its job quality index has been trending down for the past 25 years and is 10 per cent below its level in the 1990s, the CIBC report said.

That means more people are working part-time instead of full-time, more people are self-employed instead of having secure employment and more are in low-wage jobs than at any time in the last 25 years, says CIBC economist Benjamin Tal.

"The damage caused to full-time employment during each recession was, in many ways, permanent. That is, full-time job creation was unable to accelerate fast enough during the recovery to recover lost ground,” Tal said in a release

SYTBRANA, the new Workers Union at the Brasserie Nationale d'Haiti (BRANA, Heineken), communicated that its union activity within the largest brewer in Haiti is under threat, as is job security, due to the outsourcing of contracts. In addition, it highlighted numerous violations of basic health and safety regulations.

Anheuser-Busch InBev reported a rise in full-year group sales and net profits on the back of flat volumes. Here,take a look at the brewer's performance in its global markets:

North America - full-year volumes down 1.3%, sales up 0.2%

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Teamsters at MillerCoors breweries in Eden, N.C., and Fort Worth, Texas, have ratified new, three-year contracts. The agreements cover more than 900 employees at the two breweries and provide lifetime retiree health care benefits. Members of Local 391 and 997 at each location voted Saturday to ratify the contracts by 88 percent.

“Our members overwhelmingly ratified these contracts at MillerCoors because they provide stability for their families while they are working and in retirement,” said David Laughton, Director of the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference. “For the next three years, our members at MillerCoors know that their wages and pension benefits are secured and that now their families will be protected after they retire.”

The executive committee of Carlsberg has announced a temporary salary freeze and a suspension of recruitment on all levels starting from January 2015 in the entire Group. Carlsberg is unilaterally introducing a freeze on salaries and hiring new staff in light of its negative results in Russia. This decision violates the rights of unions to negotiate wages.

The IUF urges affiliates that are organized in Carlsberg to inform us of any changes or effects that will be caused by this unilateral decision on the unions' positions to negotiate wages and collective bargaining agreements. Please send the relevant information to burcu.ayan@iuf.org

Carlsberg is closing two of its 10 Russian breweries. Capacity in Russia where Carlsberg earns about a third of its profits and revenues will be reduced by 15 per cent by the twin closures with about 500-600 workers losing their jobs.

Russia has long proved to be a problem for the world’s fourth-largest brewer, almost since it decided in 2008 to take full ownership of Baltika, which is the biggest beer brand in Russia and across Europe. A mixture of a regulatory clampdown, increased taxes, a weakening economy and the plunging rouble has meant Russia has cast a shadow over Carlsberg’s results for several years. The brewer issued two profit warnings last year due to Russian woes.