Olivier van Beemen

Bier voor Afrika

Het best bewaarde geheim van Heineken

How one of the world’s biggest companies operates in the developing world

For Heineken, ‘rising Africa’ doesn’t just represent a promising future. The continent has proved highly lucrative for decades, with profits almost 50 per cent higher than the global average. In some African countries beer costs more than it does in Europe. According to the Dutch brewer, this is not only good news for shareholders, but also for the economic development of the countries in Africa where it operates. But should we believe them?

After three years of research and hundreds of interviews, Olivier van Beemen concludes that Heineken’s presence has hardly benefited the continent at all, and may in fact be rather harmful. He tells the story of how Heineken faced considerable competition from indigenous beer brewing, which it tried to crush. He shows how Heineken collaborates with dictators, authoritarian governments and a convicted war criminal; how it’s using a mysterious Belgian operating company to avoid tax; and how the company is linked to human rights violations and high-level corruption.

Beer in Africa is a critical case study about the business practices of the Dutch brewer in Africa. The revelations in the book have led to parliamentary questions being asked in both the Dutch and the European Parliament, as well as a documentary on Dutch television. Leading commentators have written columns about it and the book made headlines in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Burundi.

A provocative book.

Financial Times

Olivier van Beemen was like a gadfly to Heineken in Africa. The investigative journalist was so bothersome the company simply decided to open up to him.

de Volkskrant

Remarkable, balanced investigation.

Le Monde

Chapter after chapter, he opens up a cesspool of corruption, sex and relationships with dubious, murderous regimes. In so doing he dismantles the reputation of ethical conduct that Heineken likes to convey.

Algemeen Dagblad


Olivier van Beemen

Olivier van Beemen (b. 1979) is an investigative journalist specialising in Africa. Beer in Africa is the result of five years of research, not only in the twelve African countries where Heineken has its own breweries and joint ventures, but also in the company’s archives and literature. The…

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Bier voor Afrika. Het best bewaarde geheim van Heineken (2018). Non-fictie, 224 pagina's.
Oplage: 7.000

Complete English and French translations available

Thema's: economie zaken



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