US aviation engines makers, General Electric (GE), is planning to invest in Africa’s wind energy sector to boost the World Bank’s ‘Light Africa Initiative’, launched last year to bolster access to electricity in Africa.
GE President for Africa, Yibrah Tesfazghi, said here Wednesday the American firm was focusing on energy growth in Africa by availing its wind turbines across Africa to boost the Light Africa Initiative.
Lack of adequate energy supply has been cited as one of the biggest barriers to better living standards for millions of Africans.
According to the World Bank’s “Lighting Africa” initiative, in Sub-Saharan Afric a over 500 million people lack modern energy, with rural electricity access rates as low as 2 per cent.
Several African countries have implemented small-scale renewable energy projects providing power to urban and rural populations.
Kenya is considering moving towards wind energy solutions, which is a sustainable and cleaner source of power.
Kenya’s state-run power firm, KenGen, has undertaken studies on wind power potential in Kinangop, outside Nairobi, and in Lamu, along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast .
GE is also involved in water processing technologies and is one of the largest suppliers of water reuse and desalination plants in the world.
In addition, the company supplies healthcare equipment to health facilities across Africa in its US$ 17 billion healthcare business.
Tesfazghi said GE’s confidence in Africa had been strengthened by political and economy stability, adding that Africa was set to become a driving force in the global economy.
General Electric expects revenues in Africa to rise due to demand for infrastructural development among growing economies.
Tesfazghi said revenues in Africa grew by 114 per cent in the first quarter of 2008, compared to 2007 “and we expect this growth to continue”.
Recently, GE scooped the second best brand name in the world from Millward Brown Optimor, with brand value of US$ 71.4 billion, behind Google with US$ 86.1 billion and Microsoft, with US$ 70.8 billion.
Millward Brown Optimor is a global market research and consulting firm that identifies the world’s most powerful brands as measured by their dollar value.
Africa contributed US$ 2.5 billion to the company’s total revenue of US$ 172 billion in 2007. This revenue growth was driven by GE’s participation in energy, oil and gas, water processing and healthcare.
GE has set up a regional office in Kenya to serve its customers, including Kenya Airways, Kenya Railways and the Aga Khan Hospital among others.
Other GE locations in Africa are South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Algeria and Egypt. GE is also present in other African countries through joint ventures and its wide network of distributors. Panapress.