GE Books $2.5 Billion African Orders From Oil to Locomotives

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Jay Ireland
General Electric Co (GE) CEO for Africa, Jay Ireland. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

General Electric Co. booked $2.5 billion of orders from sub-Saharan Africa in the past 11 months, including oil and gas equipment for Eni SpA in Ghana and locomotives for Angola.

That figure is $500 million more than the company targeted by 2018 during a U.S.-African leader summit last August, Jay Ireland, chief executive officer for GE Africa, said Friday in an interview in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. They will be delivered “over the next two years,” he said.

Orders from the 25 African nations where GE operates range from items for transportation to oil and gas, power generation, health care and aviation, according to Ireland.

GE expects to seek financing for projects worth at least $1.5 billion in Africa each year as it expands its footprint in a region increasing investment in infrastructure development, and exploitation of its natural resources, he said.

The announcement coincides with U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya, where he addressed the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi earlier on Saturday.

Economic growth across Africa is set to accelerate to 5 percent in 2016 from an estimated 4.5 percent this year, when foreign direct investment will rise to $73.5 billion, according to the African Development Bank. The inflows may help narrow a funding gap for infrastructure development on the continent that the World Bank estimates at $93 billion a year.

Ghana, Angola

GE will “soon” announce new assembly facilities to be established on the continent in addition to those already in Nigeria, Angola, and South Africa, Ireland said.

Eni, whose offshore Ghanaian project is scheduled to deliver first oil by 2017, placed an order worth $850 million for equipment including three gas turbines for power generation and four centrifugal compressors, he said. GE will start delivering the equipment later this year.

Angola, which is planning a transportation hub, placed an order with GE to supply Angola National Railways with 100 locomotives. The southern African country plans to use the railroad to diversify its economy from oil into industries including mining, agriculture and energy, according to GE.

The company plans to supply 60 wind turbine generator units to a power project in Kajiado county, central Kenya. The total cost of the project that includes a service agreement for 15 years is about $155 million, according to GE.

The company is supplying 98 Kenyan hospitals with radiology infrastructure and has started an institute to train domestic health workers in use of the equipment.

GE, which has its Africa office in Nairobi, may double its workforce by end of this year as it seeks to expand its footprint on the continent. The company plans to open a regional office in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to cover Francophone Africa, according to Ireland.

“The potential in Africa is huge,” Ireland said.

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