Caterpillar to invest $1 Billion in Business, Education and Training across Africa

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Caterpillar Inc. Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman announced Wednesday that the company, its independent dealers and the Caterpillar Foundation will invest more than $1 billion in Africa over the next five years.

Oberhelman, who is currently taking part in the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in New York City, said the announcement reconfirms Caterpillar's long-term commitment to the Africa and is intended to provide a major upgrade in customer service capabilities. Those include 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, Caterpillar 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 in African countries for them 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, 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," he added.

Since 2010, the Caterpillar Foundation has invested approximately $50 million to support projects in Africa that focused on affecting those living in poverty, 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 another approximately $15 million by the year 2020 to organizations working to improve lives across Africa.

As part of UN Week, 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.

Before his panel, Oberhelman shared Caterpillar's excitement over the success of the program to date and the expansion plans.

"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," Oberhelman said.

Further enhancing Caterpillar's involvement in Africa, Resource Industries Group President Denise Johnson was named to the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa.

"It's an honor to be named to this Council dedicated to improving trade and business opportunities between African countries and the United States," 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 U.S.-Africa trade and investment priorities, the company said.

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).