By Abdi Ali
Published June 26, 2016
A global digital industrial company has set up its 10th Innovation Centre globally in Africa.
Established by General Electric (GE) and based in Johannesburg, the facility, named GE Africa Innovation Centre, is expected to serve as home to GE’s innovation across Africa within its key business sectors such as aviation, energy, healthcare, oil and gas, power and transportation. It shall also serve as the new headquarters for GE Healthcare.
While GE has partnered with Transnet SOC in South Africa to manufacture locomotives for export into the rest of Africa, the company has signed a country-to-country agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria covering power, healthcare, transportation, and oil and gas.
GE has its Africa headquarters as well as the GE Capital and Aviation Services (GECAS) business in Kenya. GECAS is the leading aircraft leasing partner for Kenya Airways. GE Healthcare is executing on a US$220 million modernization and capacity-building programme in support of Kenya’s Ministry of Health’s healthcare transformation programme.
While GE engines are to power most of Ethiopian Airlines’ fleet and GECAS is the major lessor for Ethiopia’s flag carrier, GE has invested US$250000 into scholarships granted to the University of Eduardo Mondlane students and US$250000 in a science lab and capacity-building at Unilurio University in Mozambique.
GE is also working with Angola’s Ministry of Water and Energy towards achieving the country’s 2000MW electricity target by 2016.
Jay Ireland, President and CEO for GE Africa, says, “Innovation is shaping how we see the world and how we participate in its development. GE is committed to driving innovation in Africa for Africa through supporting skills and SME development. The GE Africa Innovation Centre is one platform through which we are using our resources to empower ourselves and our stakeholders to positively contribute towards the sustainable development of Africa. We are looking to impact and enhance the career aspirations of over 100 engineers from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. These are young people who will come through the centre and share their innovative solutions whilst learning from some of the best GE minds in their respective fields. They will work across GE’s product portfolio and deliver simplified world-class products to GE customers”.
The new centre boasts an Experience and Exploration Centre, coffee shop and catering facilities, agile workspaces, Learning and Development Centre, Innovation Ideation and Collaboration Centre, as well as a GE Prototyping Laboratory and sustainable Healthcare Customer Experience Centre.
The Healthcare Experience Centre is designed to mimic different care areas in a hospital environment and includes focused spaces to help familiarize customers with care area technologies in the operating theatre and intensive care unit, cardiology, oncology, maternal and infant care and general radiology and after sales service. Featuring virtual and augmented reality displays and a range of installed equipment, visitors will be treated to a glimpse of an interconnected and efficient hospital catering for both primary care settings and premium facilities. Further, the centre’s eight new permanent work stations will also provide customers with hands-on clinical education and applications training.