SABMiller is looking to more than double its marketing spend in Africa.

The London-based brewer, which manages operations in 14 countries as well as holding a stake in a joint venture with Castel in Africa, said today (7 April) that will spread the spend equally between above- and below-the-line investments, over the next four to five years.

"Historically, we've focused a little bit on below-the-line," said Mark Bowman, managing director of SABMiller Africa. "We have a much less developed marketing mix in terms of above-the-line and below-the-line spend. What we're looking at is doubling this, albeit off a small base."

Bowman declined to give specific figures on the investment, adding: "It's hard for us to measure exactly by country what our marketing spend is. The marketing spend relative to any benchmark in our own organisation at the moment is low (in the region).

"The numbers aren't going to be particularly meaningful, but we're increasing disproportionately to what our increases in volumes will be over the next four to five years."

When asked which markets would benefit more greatly from the upspend, Bowman said: "Our bigger markets clearly, and the ones closer to South Africa, due to the relative competitive nature of markets in that area, such as Botswana. We're also focusing on Tanzania, Angola and Uganda, for example."

The company currently has in place a capital expenditure programme of US$370m per year in Africa, although this will be reduced to $200m per year after two years. Included in the programme are the construction of new greenfield breweries, the expansion of existing operations and switching containers to returnable glass bottles.