SABMiller will follow up the launch of a brewery in Southern Sudan by opening another three breweries across Africa in 2009, in recognition of the continent's potential as a beer market.

SABMiller intends to to open a US$55m, 600,000-hectolitre capacity brewery in Tanzania later this year, its fourth brewery in the country, a company spokesperson confirmed to just-drinks today (7 May).

The brewery, to be owned by Tanzania Breweries, in which SABMiller has a controlling stake, is part of the international brewer's expansion plan for Africa.

"SABMiller is committed to delivering high quality and affordable products across Africa, whilst also delivering consistent growth. Last week Sudan began production of White Bull Lager at the first of four new breweries we will be opening across Africa this year," the SABMiller spokesperson said.

As well as Tanzania and Sudan, the group will open breweries this year in Angola and Mozambique.

The brewer said last year that it intended to invest US$200m in 2009 and 2010 in its Africa business, which has outperformed other divisions over the last 12 months.

SABMiller's lager and soft drinks sales by volume across Africa rose by 5% in the year to the end of March, compared to 2% growth for the group worldwide, the firm said in a trading update last month. The group's Africa division excludes South Africa, where lager volumes fell by 2% for the year.

Volume sales rose by 4% in Tanzania for the 12 months, although weakened in the fourth quarter as the country suffered from the effects of the global economic downturn, SABMiller said.

Gains were also made in Angola, Uganda, Cameroon and Zambia, SAB said. However, sales in Botswana were hit by a 30% social tax on alcohol, implemented in November 2008.