If you're looking for refreshment in Afghanistan, you're in luck. For only 36.5 percent of the average annual salary, you can enjoy a small bottle of Coca-Cola every day, from the country's brand-new Coke bottling plant. Improbable wishes, the key ingredient in any successful business plan, are as abundant as corn syrup in this new venture:
Although Afghanistan is one of the world's five poorest countries, Coca-Cola's Southern Eurasia head, Selcuk Erden, said the country of about 25 million was "the missing link" in the company's global business strategy.
But the country has no economy and apart from thousands of well-paid United Nations personnel, foreign troops and aid workers, few people have money to spend.
The average income is about $200 a year. A small bottle of Coke costs about 20 cents in the shops.
"Nothing much has been done to develop the economy. There is no investment," academic, writer and former cabinet minister Hamidullah Tarzi told Reuters recently.
"We are living in a sort of artificial economy. This is completely false because there is no production and there is nothing you can call investment."
Any business looking at Afghanistan must invest heavily in security. By some estimates, 10 times as much money is spent on security as development.
Thanks to Sean Higgins.
Explanation of the title of this post can be found by watching Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three, in which the semi-retired James Cagney plays the harried head of Coca-Cola in West Berlin.