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KFC aims to double revenue in Africa by 2012. The colonel would be proud.

KFC this week became the latest iconic American company to make significant moves into Africa, following expansion by Coca-Cola and Walmart.

By Drew HinshawCorrespondent / December 9, 2010

KFC this week became the latest iconic American company to make significant moves into Africa.

Richard B. Levine/Newscom

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From a legendary hillside in the Appalachians, one Colonel Harland David Sanders took his chicken to the planet.

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Since the seventh-grade drop out turned his service station grease pit into a 1950s rest area standard, the franchise has taken its finger lickin' goodness to more than 70 countries.

Now, KFC is looking to double its African operations to 1,200 branches, bursting into untapped countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia – places many Americans more readily free-associate with virgin rain forests and "The Gods Must Be Crazy," not interstate exit cuisine.

"Africa wasn't even on our radar screen 10 years ago, but now we see it exploding with opportunity," said David Novak, Chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands Inc., which owns KFC and Pizza Hut.

America's iconic brands go big into Africa

But Kentucky's most famous acronym export is just one American haute couture icon among many that are making big moves into Africa, starting with the bubbly beverage that quenched thirsts at Okinawa before it stared down Communism: Coca-Cola.

Atlanta's most syrupy offering plans to spend $12 billion increasing African coke consumption.

"We go to every town, every village, every community, every township," a top official told Business Week.

Then there's Walmart. Earlier this fall, the world's largest public corporation bought a majority share of Massmart, the biggest retailer in Africa, with plans to bring the big box to Africa's biggest cities.

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