According to the Deloitte report, Africa from the Inside: Spotlight on Opportunities in Francophone Africa, the Francophone region in Africa is set to undergo immense economic growth as this region has outperformed Southern Africa and non-Francophone West Africa in economic growth since 2014.
Francophone Africa is comprised of the French-speaking countries in Africa and the major economies in the region are Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Prior to 2014, the Francophone region was not considered a feasible area for economic investment due to unfavourable business conditions caused by the legal frameworks and social structures, among other factors. Recently, the region has gained favourable economic interest due to a positive economic growth outlook.
One of the major challenges for Francophone Africa’s economic growth is the energy deficit in the region. Two in every three people lack access to electricity in the region. Not only does this hinder the quality of life, but it is also a challenge in the establishment of new businesses, growth of existing companies and job creation.
GE Power has undertaken the challenge of trying to rectify the energy deficit and is currently in the process of overhauling four power plants in the region that will add a total of 105MW of energy. The refurbishment of these power plants will bring electricity to half a million people.
“GE has been a key player in providing innovative energy solutions to the African energy sector since 1898. There has also been a renewed focus on better maintenance of existing power plants to improve performance and keep the lights on throughout the continent with several long-term service agreements,” says Narendra Asnani, GE Power Sales Executive Sub-Saharan Africa.
The power plants set for overhauling by GE are in Senegal, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire, and have not been in operation for several years. The overhaul process includes plant services or upgrades as well as supplying spare parts to the power plants.
Elisee Sezan, General Manager of GE Power Services Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “Our work in Francophone African countries has meant significant project gains for GE Power. Not only does the company get to be part of an initiative that will assist in improving the livelihood of millions of people, but it will mean that GE Power will have a market share in countries that the company has not operated in. This is a step in the right direction in terms of exploring new expansion opportunities.”
GE has partnered with the various governments on several initiatives such as healthcare, aviation, rail transportation, power generation, water, and oil and gas. GE has also invested in skills development and education in the region and is committed to investing in the local economies as well.