Heineken in Africa

Mister Van Beemen’s book is about our practices in Africa and when I read it, I told myself: well, well, well, if all this is true, we have a problem.
Jean-François van Boxmeer, CEO Heineken

For Heineken, ‘rising Africa’ is already a reality: the profits it extracts there are almost 50 per cent above the global average, and beer costs more in some African countries than it does in Europe. Heineken claims its presence boosts economic development on the continent. But is this true?

Investigative journalist Olivier van Beemen has spent years seeking the answer, and his conclusion is damning: Heineken has hardly benefited Africa at all. On the contrary, there are some shocking skeletons in its African closet: tax avoidance, sexual abuse, links to genocide and other human rights violations, high-level corruption, crushing competition from indigenous brewers, and collaboration with dictators and pitiless anti-government rebels.

The press on Heineken in Africa
‘Remarkable, balanced investigation’ — Le Monde
‘A provocative book’ — Financial Times
‘Almost perfect case-study’ – Prospect Magazine
‘Revelations caused a scandal’ – Foreign Affairs
‘Fast-paced book’ **** – Volkskrant
More reviews here

Heineken in Africa was originally published in Dutch as Bier voor Afrika (2018). The book has been translated into French (2018), English (2019), Italian and Slovenian (2020).

For this investigation, Olivier van Beemen has won De Tegel, the most prestigious prize in Dutch journalism. The book and press stories on Heineken received several nominations for other awards in the Netherlands and France.

Like the beer, Heineken in Africa seems to travel well. Van Beemen has presented his work in more than 80 lectures, debates and presentations in 16 countries on 4 continents. From local bookstores to prestigious universities, and from beer festivals to government ministries. Watch his TEDx here. Invitations and enquiries here.