DALLAS – Pizza Hut, a division of Yum! Brands is opening its first restaurant in Africa. This move reflects the company’s expansion in emerging markets, according to Pizza Hut, which calls itself the world’s largest pizza chain with $12 billion in global sales and more than 15,000 restaurants in 93 countries worldwide.

“Africa is an emerging continent with more than 1 billion people and endless possibilities for us to grow Pizza Hut over the long-term,” said Scott Bergren, CEO, Pizza Hut and chief innovation officer, Yum! Brands. “We’re pleased to bring Pizza Hut to South Africa and look forward to expanding the brand in other African countries in the future. We’ve just scratched the surface of growth and we’re aggressively accelerating Pizza Hut’s development across the delivery, express, and dine-In channels globally.”

The new Pizza Hut, in Johannesburg, South Africa, will offer popular items that appeal to local taste preferences with toppings like Boerewors sausage and pizza made with Peri-Peri sauce, in addition to Pizza Hut’s international favorites.

“South Africa is a huge opportunity for Pizza Hut with its rapidly growing middle class and progressive consumers who love pizza,” said Randall Blackford, general manager, Pizza Hut Africa.

More restaurants are slated to open in South Africa this year, which will create approximately 200 local jobs. Over the next three years, the company plans to open dozens of stores in the country, employing more than 2,500 people.

“We consider South Africa a stepping-stone into the rest of the Continent,” Blackford said. “Based on our company’s experience successfully developing KFC in South Africa and other countries, we plan to use the same model to introduce Pizza Hut to Namibia, Angola and Zambia over the next year.”

With more than one billion people, 53 countries, enormous mineral wealth and consumer spending predicted to reach $2.5 trillion by 2020, Yum! Brands sees an opportunity for growth in Africa over the next several years. South Africa has an emerging economy and well-developed financial, energy and transportation sectors, a growing middle class and a large, youthful population of more than 52 million people.