General Electric’s $2bn development plan for Africa is rapidly taking shape

In August 2014, General Electric (GE) made a commitment to invest $2 billion in facility development, skills training, and sustainability initiatives across Africa by 2018. The commitment was made during the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC. Substantial investment has been made to back those commitments, and this week GE took time out to review the progress of its financial outlay. “GE has made significant progress against the investment commitments made last August,” said Jay Ireland, president and CEO of GE Africa. “Skills training and capacity building are critical, not only for developing African economies, but also for growing GE’s footprint in the region. We consider this a major priority.”

Over the weekend, GE Africa confirmed plans to ramp up investments in Kenya, with power its immediate focus. It announced that it was partnering with Kipeto Energy Limited to build a new wind farm in Kenya’s Kajiado County, for which it will be the sole equipment supplier for the 100MW project, some 50 kilometres from the capital Nairobi.

This deal caps off a successful run of more than $2.5 billion in booked orders on the Africa continent, three years shy of its 2018 investment target. These investments are spread across transport, aviation, healthcare and energy sectors. Here are a few of them:

Oil and Gas equipment for Eni Ghana: The $850 million order incorporates both turbo-machinery and subsea elements for the offshore project. The order includes three gas turbines for power generation and four centrifugal compressors. The first shipment is scheduled for the end of 2015 and the project is planned to deliver first oil by 2017.

Locomotive contract in Angola: GE is to supply 100 locomotives to the Angolan National Railways (INCFA). The contract demonstrates Angola’s commitment to diversify its economy into new sectors such as mining, agriculture and energy.

Kenya Healthcare Modernization Programme: GE was selected in February 2015 by the Kenyan Ministry of Health as a key technology partner for its wide-scale infrastructure modernisation programme aimed at transforming 98 hospitals across Kenya’s 47 counties. The radiology modernisation contract awarded to GE Healthcare is the largest of seven tranches of Kenya’s $420 million health development plan, aimed at delivering sustainable healthcare development, in line Kenya’s Vision 2030 Plan.

GE Manufacturing and Assembly Facility in Nigeria: GE has awarded Nigerian construction company, Julius Berger the contract to build its manufacturing and assembly facility in Calabar, Cross River State. Another Nigerian company, Banyan Tree has been contracted to build a training facility at the Calabar site and for the refurbishment, teacher training and curriculum development of the Cross River State Technical College. GE has also commenced fabrication of subsea well heads and refurbishment of Christmas trees at its Onne facility. Upon completion, these projects make up GE’s $250 million capital expenditure investment commitment to Nigeria. This investment is expected to create 2,300 direct and indirect jobs. The Calabar facility is expected to be a regional manufacturing and assembly hub for GE Oil & Gas as well as other GE industrial businesses. The first of its kind site will include training facilities to enable knowledge transfer and career advancement opportunities for local talent.

Nigeria Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET): GE Foundation has funded a biomedical training program in Nigeria to equip technicians with the skills to fix devices ranging from blood pressure cuffs to X-rays. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 50 percent to 80 percent of medical equipment is out of service in low-income countries). In partnership with Engineering World Health, 19 students have been trained to date. The goal is to train 60 students by year end 2017..

Mozambique Graduate Engineering Training Programme: GE has enrolled 20 Mozambican graduate engineers in the company’s Graduate Engineering Training Program (GETP), a “best in class” development program designed to prepare engineers to join GE’s global field service engineering team after successful completion of an intense

24-month curriculum. The engineers concluded phase 1 of the program at the Mozal Artisan Training Center in Maputo, and Phase 2 in South Africa. They have now started a 12-month, on-the-job training program to gain hands-on experience with GE Oil & Gas subsea and rotating equipment products. “We are exceptionally proud of the progress made against our commitment and the impact these initiatives will have on Africa’s workforce,” Ireland added.

GE Garages skills building programme: GE is collaborating with Gearbox and Seven Seas Technologies to bring its successful GE Garages skills building programme to Kenya to help build a skilled workforce and drive entrepreneurial development in the country. The facility in Nairobi will help students, entrepreneurs, makers and other learn about advanced manufacturing processes, software programming and business development through the use of advanced manufacturing innovations like 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC mills.

Kenya Healthcare Training Center: As a cornerstone of our healthcare modernization programme, we have announced the GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute in Kenya. The Institute represents a long-term investment of more than $13 million over the next 10 years. The centre is set to become GE’s first dedicated skills development facility in Africa when inaugurated in Q4 2015. Our goal is to train more than 1,000 healthcare professionals over the next 3 years.

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