General Electric To Double Staff In East Africa 2015 Expansion Plan

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

From Business Daily

US-based General Electric plans to expand business in Kenya and the African region as energy sector activity intensifies. The move is set to nearly double its staff by the end of 2015.

The Nairobi-based staff currently stands at 130 and GE sees the number rising to about 250, according to CEO for Africa region Jay Ireland.

With the increasing exploration and extraction in the oil and gas sector, the company plans to expand its business in Kenya and the wider eastern Africa region.

Mr Ireland said the recent fall in oil prices does not affect its long-term growth plans since the commodity is subject to price fluctuations.

“You would think that oil prices should be rising given all the conflicts around the world including in Ukraine, but they are falling. For us, we will continue to invest in the oil and gas sector as we are looking at the long-term,” said Mr Ireland.

He said GE located its headquarters in Kenya with a view to getting a larger footprint in eastern Africa region given the region’s growth potential.
Currently, GE is involved in various projects in the region including wind power generation.

GE is supplying 38 turbines and providing maintenance for Kinangop Wind Farm for 10 years through a service agreement with the power generating firm valued at Sh5.2 billion ($58 million).

GE has also invested up to Sh360 million ($4 million) in the development of the Kajiado-based Kipeto Wind Farm.

When completed, the plant is expected to deliver 100MW to the national grid. The ground-breaking is set to be done in the first quarter of next year with power fed into the national grid in 2016/17.

“What we are doing at Kipeto is bringing together partners, the right technology, services, and the like,” said Mr Ireland. The Kipeto project is estimated to cost Sh27 billion ($300 million) with $80 million (Sh7.2 billion) being raised through equity and the rest through debt.

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