Starbucks Corp. will invest 130 million rand ($9.13 million) in South Africa over the next two years as the company starts its expansion in the continent’s most developed economy.

The world’s largest coffee-shop chain has been focused on adding locations in emerging markets, including China and India. The moves come as same-store sales gains shrink in Starbucks’ Americas region. Growth in the unit, which includes the U.S., slowed to 7 percent during its latest quarter.

“This market is going to be larger than we thought initially,” Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said Friday at the Starbucks in Rosebank, one of the two locations that have been opened in Johannesburg. “We will take advantage of the growing middle class.”

About 34.8 million people are expected to buy meals from restaurants in South Africa by 2017, up from 31 million now, according to researcher Euromonitor International.

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