GE's Ireland Sees Potential to Double Africa Revenue in 5 Years

General Electric Co. sees the potential to double its African revenue and employees as the company expands in countries including Ethiopia and Mozambique, GE Africa President Jay Ireland said.

Power will be the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company’s biggest growth sector in Africa, alongside health care and transportation, Ireland said in an interview Wednesday at the Bloomberg Africa Business and Economic Summit in Cape Town. GE is also seeking to replicate a health-care partnership it has with the Kenyan government in other African countries, he said.

The company see opportunities in rail and health care in both Mozambique and Ethiopia, in addition to Mozambican oil and gas and aviation in Ethiopia, Ireland said.

“We’re very optimistic about Ethiopia, we’re also optimistic about Mozambique, and expanding our footprint in both of those countries," he said.

Mozambique and Ethiopia are sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest-growing economies, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting they’ll expand more than 8 percent this year. Mozambique is developing projects that could make it the third-largest shipper of liquefied natural gas, while Ethiopia is investing in power plants as it seeks to become one of the continent’s largest electricity exporters.

GE announced plans in 2014 to invest $2 billion in Africa by 2018 and double its workforce on the continent. The company has already increased headcount from about 800 to 2,600 and will probably get up to about 5,000, Ireland said.

“That would be the goal, which would be double from where we are today," he said, declining to provide a time-frame. Revenue on the continent could potentially double within five years, Ireland said.

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