Caterpillar announces US$1bn investment in Africa


Caterpillar chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman has announced that the company, its independent dealers, and the Caterpillar Foundation, plan to invest more than US$1bn in countries throughout Africa over the next five years.

Oberhelman made the announcement on Thursday, September 21, at the US-Africa Business Forum (USABF), which is being held in New York City this week. This investment reconfirms Caterpillar’s long-term commitment to the continent and is intended to provide a major upgrade in customer service capabilities – including enhanced parts distribution capacity, new state-of-the-art Certified Rebuild Centers, new dealer branch locations, the expansion of Caterpillar’s Technicians for Africa online skills development program and millions of dollars to support programs that lift people out of poverty.

With approximately 15,000 Caterpillar and Cat dealer employees in Africa, the OEM already has a significant footprint in this important and growing market. Caterpillar’s investment will increase that footprint, while simultaneously boosting the infrastructure development and skills training capabilities necessary for African countries to continue their rise in global competitiveness.

“For 90 years, Caterpillar machines have helped build critical infrastructure projects throughout Africa. Today, we bring not only construction machinery to the continent, but also traditional and renewable power generation solutions, diesel-electric locomotives, marine engines and mining equipment,” said Oberhelman.

“With today’s announcement [September 21], we are proudly confirming our plan to make a long-term investment to help build, develop and power communities, and serve as an education and training partner, to broaden and strengthen local workforce talent and expertise.”

Since 2010, the Caterpillar Foundation has invested approximately US$50m to support projects in Africa focused on affecting those living in poverty, and specifically girls and women, through training, policy work, entrepreneurship programs and more. These investments are benefiting hundreds of thousands with access to education, energy, clean water and sanitation, and microfinance.

Building on these historical investments, the Caterpillar Foundation will commit an additional approximately US$15m by the year 2020 to organizations working to improve lives across the continent.

As part of UN Week (not sure what/when this is?), Oberhelman will participate in a skills development discussion panel during the historic African Business Forum with President Kenyatta of Kenya, President Mahama of Ghana, and IBM Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty. During the discussion he will highlight Caterpillar’s significant progress since the launch of Technicians for Africa in 2015. Technicians for Africa is a free, online learning platform for Africans seeking to develop important technical skills needed to pursue a career as an equipment technician.

Oberhelman shared Caterpillar’s excitement over the success of the program to date and the expansion plans, commenting, “Technicians are essential for our dealers and customers; they keep projects on schedule and customers productive. With investment and innovation – and through projects like Technicians for Africa – we can address the skills gap that currently exists.

“In 2017, Caterpillar will expand the availability of Technicians for Africa from three to 15 countries, and we expect thousands of people to benefit.”

Further enhancing Caterpillar’s involvement in the region, Resource Industries Group President Denise Johnson has been named to the US President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PACDBIA).

“It’s an honor to be named to this council dedicated to improving trade and business opportunities between African countries and the USA,” said Johnson. “I’m looking forward to working alongside my industry peers to share Caterpillar’s decades of experience in Africa and provide counsel to the President as we seek to bolster those relationships.”

Johnson’s appointment strengthens Caterpillar’s voice in providing information, analysis and recommendations on USA-Africa trade and investment priorities.

September 22, 2016

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Tom Stone is Editor of the iVT brand – which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and the Advanced Lift-truck supplement, as well as, which is updated daily. Tom has met and interviewed some of the world's leading industrial vehicle OEM presidents, CEOs and MDs, and takes great pride in cementing iVT's place as the leading forum for debate within the industry, a reputation that his been built up over the brand's 25-year history.

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