KENYA – East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) has officially rolled out the US$5 million recovery fund aimed to help the hospitality industry i.e. pubs and bars recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two-year programme dubbed “Raising the Bar” is part of the US$100 million kitty launched by EABL’s parent company, Diageo in July across its different markets i.e. New York, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Sydney and beyond.

The program launch in East Africa was met with delays due to the ban on sale of alcoholic drinks and beverages by ordinary restaurants and eateries and closure of bars which lasted for about six months in Kenya.

With resumption of trade under strict guidelines, it has been a green light signal for the alcohol producer to embark on the initiative.

According to reports by Business Daily, with EABL operating across East Africa, the Kenyan establishments through Kenya Breweries Limited will get the lion’s share receiving US$3 million while those in Uganda via Uganda Breweries Limited and Tanzania through Serengeti Breweries Limited will each get US$1 million.

“We have no doubt that Raising the Bar programme will provide the much-needed shot in the arm for these outlets at a time when they most need our help.”

KBL Acting Sales Director – Joel Kamau

The targeted support include purchasing equipment such as hygiene kits, permanent sanitizer dispenser units, hand sanitizers, masks, and protection screens for bars that cannot maintain the one metre social distance.

The fund will also enable the establishments obtain mobile bars and outdoor equipment as well as undertake partnerships with online reservations and cashless systems, developing contactless technology.

Through the programme, KBL has partnered with AMREF to train bar staff on the safety measures they need to take to protect themselves and their customers, upon resumption.

KBL acting sales director Joel Kamau said the programme is targeting about 11,000 bars and pubs in the country.

“As KBL, we know this has been the most difficult time for the hospitality industry ever. Our bars and eateries universe constitutes a critical part of our hospitality industry which has been greatly affected. We have committed to alleviate the safety and comfort of our customers and boost the trade at this critical time.

“We have no doubt that Raising the Bar programme will provide the much-needed shot in the arm for these outlets at a time when they most need our help. With the sector’s 40, 0000 retailers employing over 300,000 people and benefitting many more directly, the effects of the pandemic have been felt throughout the country,” said Kamau.

KBL says that full recovery of this sector will also boost its expansive value chain supporting over 47,000 farmers, over 100 distribution network consists of 105 distributors and 44,000 retailers, all of whom have been affected by the pandemic.

The announcement follows a series of efforts by KBL since March 2020, to help address emergency needs brought about by the pandemic.

Apart from funding the production of 1 million pieces of hand-sanitizer at Kshs 70 million (US$629,000) for use by frontline health workers and vulnerable communities, KBL also donated Kshs 50 million (US$449,000) to the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund.

The ‘Raising the Bar’ initiative will bring the total investment by the company to Kshs 540 million (US$4.8m); to help support trade and communities across Kenya.

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