G.E. Gearing Up For Africa

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AAFWhat’s new on the business side in Africa? Like many of the African-American entrepreneurs opening branches of their businesses on the African continent https://tnj.com/entrepreneurs/taking-it-africa [3], General Electric Company has formed G.E. Africa to expand its operations and form a global relationship.

“G.E. Africa is an emerging market and area of opportunity. We have a talented pool of folks at G.E. who are interested in exploring opportunities to work in Africa. We are looking at their skills and experience, and we’re looking to see where there’s a need for building,” says Robert Jones, vice president of human resources, G.E. Capital, Sales Finance Business.

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Annual Global Diversity Symposium, G.E. gathered more than 1,200 employees in Baltimore this week to kick-off a two-day event hosted by the company’s African-American Forum. The symposium brought together professionals from across the globe to network, exchange ideas, formulate best practices and discuss current business initiatives and issues. Of the numerous highlights of the event was a forum focusing on globalization, specifically, plans to expand in Africa.

“Years ago, the company wasn’t doing business in Africa at all. But the question, ‘What can we do’ was raised to Immelt [Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO, G.E.],” says Jones. Shortly after, company leaders began to exchange ideas and action was taken. Key areas of focus will be transportation, oil & gas, clean energy, and affordable healthcare as the key areas of concentration, G.E. Africa is a renewed focus on community outreach and a commitment to deliver the company’s leading technology and services to the sub-Saharan regions.

Tamla Oates-Forney will lead human resources for G.E. Africa and Lazarus Angbazo was named national executive for West, East and Central Africa. Both were promoted as part of the G.E. Africa announcement. Jay Ireland is the new CEO.

Says Jones, “The common denominator here is that this is a big opportunity to develop infrastructure. And technology around healthcare is greatly needed.” Launched in 2004, ‘Developing Health Globally’ is another initiative the company undertook as a 5-year, $20 million dollar commitment to help provide quality healthcare and services in 10 countries on the continent. That dollar amount was recently expanded to $40 million and the life of the program extended by 5 years. The funds have been distributed to rural district hospitals.

As recently as 2010, two African-American, G.E. board of directors and a few African-American corporate officers traveled to Africa to identify good places for growth, how to develop talent and ways to develop stronger community connections. Company leaders say they hope to build out G.E.’s footprint in Africa.