ADDIS ABABA, April 25 (Reuters) - U.S. fast-food giant Yum Brands Inc. has signed a deal with Ethiopia's Belayab Foods and Franchise PLC to open 10 Pizza Hut restaurants in the Horn of Africa country as part of an expansion on the continent.
Pizza Hut will be the first major restaurant franchise to open an outlet in Ethiopia, Africa's second most-populous nation, which has become one of its fastest-growing economies.
"We will start off with three outlets first in six months time and open 10 stores within the next three years," Michael Ghebru, a shareholder of the project, told Reuters.
Kentucky-based Yum, which is also the parent of the KFC and Taco Bell chains, is no stranger to emerging markets with more than 1,000 restaurants in Africa. Its Pizza Hut franchise has 188 branches across the continent.
"Let's be prudent because in Africa there may be some levels of instability and also when you are opening some routes that take time," Ewan Davenport, General Manager of Pizza Hut Africa, said.
"But the sky is the limit. At the moment, we are looking at (opening) at least 50 stores a year."
Western retailers are increasingly targeting Africa, which is home to rising consumer spending and some of the world's fastest growing economies, albeit off a low base. (Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by Alexander Smith)