18 August 2014, Sweetcrude, Abuja – General Electric Company says it has extended for five years a “country-to-company” agreement with Nigeria as it pledged to invest $2 billion in Africa by 2018 to boost infrastructure, worker skills and access to energy.
The agreement with Nigeria is directed at spurring the development of infrastructure projects and the transfer of skills and technology.
GE timed the announcement to coincide with the recent U.S. summit meeting of nearly 50 African leaders.
U.S. companies still have opportunities to catch up to China, Europe and Japan, who have made bigger strides in investing in the fast-growing continent, GE Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt said.
“The growth is real. I think, for American companies, this is an opportunity to seize upon,” Immelt told reporters at a summit-related event in Washington. “This is a good catalyst for growth and a big opportunity for the company.”
Immelt said Africa’s rich natural resources and potential swell in local demand for electricity primed the region for investment.
“What you have is huge demand and actual supply, and what’s in the middle is gaps in financing and technology and localization,” Immelt said. He also cited political volatility as a risk but the CEO said the rewards outweigh the risks.
U.S. officials said the summit is aimed at showcasing American interest in the region through a series of government-private partnership deals.
GE’s investments include deals to work on increased electric grid reliability during peak power demands in Algeria and to generate uninterrupted power for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp’s state oil refinery.
The company also announced an investment of $1 billion in railway and power equipment in Angola.
That deal was signed under a bilateral agreement between the U.S. Export-Import Bank and Angola’s Ministry of Finance to finance infrastructure projects in the country.