Mondelez International Looks To Invest Heavily In Solar Energy

By Phiwa Sikhondze

Mondelez International, a global powerhouse in the food and beverage industry, known for brands like Cadbury and Oreo, has announced plans to significantly enhance its sustainability efforts in Eswatini through a major investment in solar energy infrastructure.

This was revealed by the General Manager of Mondelez International, Sherif Medhat, during the recent ‘Drivers of Inclusive Growth – Private Sector Engagement’ held at the Hilton Garden Inn.

This move comes as part of the company’s strategic expansion plan in Sub-Saharan Africa, leveraging the region’s untapped potential for growth. With a longstanding presence in Eswatini spanning over three decades, Mondelez has recently invested more than E200 million in infrastructure and $10 million in capital improvements, signaling a deep commitment to the local economy and community.

According to Medhat, energy emerged as a pivotal focus area for Mondelez’s future operations in Eswatini. With limited natural gas resources and a nascent solar energy sector, the company is poised to embark on a sizable investment in solar energy infrastructure in the coming year.

By harnessing renewable energy sources, Mondelez aims to enhance operational efficiency, reduce costs, and promote sustainable practices within its operations in the region.

“Next year, we will have a significant investment in solar energy,” Medhat announced. “This is not just about reducing our operational costs but also about making a positive environmental impact.”

However, the GM noted a huge gap in Eswatini’s human capital development, yet it is a key enabler for industry growth. Recognizing the need for skilled artisans, technicians, and blue-collar workers, Medhat highlighted the challenges faced in sourcing talent locally, underscoring the urgent need for investment in vocational training and skills development programs.

“We need skilled technicians and operational experts. Currently, we are struggling to fill these positions locally,” he noted.

Medhat expressed deep concerns over the lack of appropriate skills in the country’s labour force, citing that they have run for over a year with some vacancies due to a lack of qualified candidates to fill those posts.

Mondelez’s vision includes the temporary engagement of expatriate professionals to provide specialized expertise and knowledge transfer, addressing the challenges associated with work permit regulations.

By facilitating short-term assignments for foreign experts, Mondelez seeks to bridge skill gaps, drive innovation, and support the professional development of local talent in Eswatini.

With a workforce comprising over 400 direct employees and 3,000 indirect contributors, predominantly Swati nationals, Mondelez remains steadfast in its commitment to nurturing local talent and fostering economic growth in the region. The company’s investment in human capital and renewable energy is expected to create numerous job opportunities, stimulate economic activity, and drive long-term prosperity in Eswatini.

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