Muscat: General Electric (GE) will invest $2 billion in facility development, skills training, and sustainability initiatives across Africa by 2018.
GE made the announcement before the start of United States President Barack Obama's US-Africa Leaders Summit, where GE is hosting African and global government officials, policy experts, non-government organisations (NGOs), entrepreneurs and business leaders for a conference on investment, infrastructure, and innovation in Africa, said a company release.
Through partnerships and technology, GE is poised to help increase access, reliability, and affordability of core infrastructure throughout the continent. Africa has emerged as the most promising growth region for GE. Total GE revenues in Africa in 2013 were $5.2 billion and in the past year, GE has won more than $8.3 billion in orders across Africa.
"I am proud of our 100-year history in Africa. Through investments such as our new multi-modal manufacturing facility in Nigeria, Algeria gas turbine manufacturing, and our customer innovation center in South Africa, we remain a committed partner to Africa's sustainable growth," said Jeff Immelt, the chairman and chief executive officer.
Railway, power equipment
GE will focus its investment in Africa in three strategic areas: building infrastructure; delivering localised solutions to customers; and capacity building, by providing skills training and growing supply chain development in local communities.
New GE commitments in Africa include the supply of aeroderivative gas turbines in Algeria and Nigeria to increase grid reliability during peak power demands in Algeria and generate uninterrupted power at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation's state oil refinery.
In addition, GE will supply approximately $1 billion in railway and power equipment to Angola to finance infrastructure development projects in the country.
The GE Foundation will invest $20 million over the next five years in health programmes across Africa — including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi — to train nurse anesthetists and biomedical equipment technicians, among other healthcare initiatives.
Other commitments and recent announcements in Africa include the implementation of an agreement for distributed power solutions this year. The partners will collaborate on major infrastructure projects — in power generation, rail transport, and the oil and gas sector.
GE recently announced plans to invest in the Ghana 1000 project, which aims to bring 1,000mw of power online over the next six years.
GE South Africa Technologies has also committed to supply Transnet with 233 locomotives, as well as develop a Supplier Development Fund with IDC and IFC that fosters the growth of subject matter experts throughout the GE supply chain in Africa.
The partnership with Transnet has created hundreds of skilled jobs on both continents. With this new order, GE will be delivering 436 new locos operating in South Africa by 2017.
Additionally, GE is working with partners in Africa to drive sustainable development and solve local challenges by investing in technology, building capital markets and developing technical skills within communities. In Calabar, Nigeria, GE is investing more than $1 billion over five years to build technical expertise and infrastructure.