Coca-Cola Company would provide jobs for five million women entrepreneurs throughout Coca-Cola's global business system by 2020, Muhtar Kent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, has pledged at a plenary session of Clinton Global Initiative.
A release from the Accra Office of the Company on Wednesday said Mr Kent made the pledge in New York taking into consideration the Company's presence in over 200 countries and its business model, which relies on millions of small-scale distributors and retailers, many of whom are women.
The release said: "To meet this far-reaching target, the Company will build on best-practices in its business system worldwide, encourage innovation, and seek the insights of women executives as it considers how to break down barriers faced by women in its value chain."
The pledge builds upon a commitment made by the Coca-Cola Company in 2008 to the United Nations 'Business Call to Action" to grow the Company's Micro Distribution Centres (MDCs) in Africa.
MDCs are independent networks of entrepreneur, who distribute Coca-Cola's beverage products to retailers, often by bicycle or pushcart. At last year's Clinton Global Initiative, the Company committed that 50 per cent of all new MDCs would be run by women.
The release said the Company was well on track to achieve both targets as part of its commitments to the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals, which include promoting gender equality and empowering women.
Mr Kent said: "Our experience on the great continent of Africa and the model of our existing MDC programme provides an expanded platform to empower an additional five million women worldwide over the next 10 years. We need to increase awareness that better societies can be created as a result of empowering women."
Quoting a Research conducted by the Harvard Kennedy School, Mr Kent said "engagement with local stakeholders on Coca-Cola's MDC business in Africa indicates that women face three main barriers to success - lack of access to finance; lack of business skills training; and lack of access to mentors and networks of peers".
He said the Company plans to conduct further research with potential partners to better understand how to empower women across its global system.
"Enhancing economic opportunities for women in the Coca-Cola value chain will result in increased incomes, enhanced skills in business, increased stature within the community and improved potential for communities," Mr Kent stated.