GE’s new President and CEO of Sub-Saharan Africa for Oil & Gas, Ado Oseragbaje, is optimistic about the future of GE in enabling and developing an industrial economy across the SSA region. Oseragbaje is aware of the challenges in SSA, but is certain that in-country fabrication, localisation and other initiatives will help provide the resources to enable economic growth.
“People sometimes believe that localisation drives up costs, but that’s not true. We have to understand the obstacles that contribute to the increase in costs. One of the obstacles in Nigeria, for example, is the erratic supply of electricity which affects local manufacturing. There are also issues in the region around taxation, fiscal regimes and import, export costs that add to the overall project costs,” said Oseragbaje, who believes that addressing these structural issues will have a positive impact on overall project costs.
GE’s philosophy is that localisation is worth investing in. This thinking has seen the complexity of supply chains reduced, costs of transporting parts decreased and the creation of jobs having a positive impact on local economies. GE recently built locomotives in South Africa and given that a high percentage of the leadership team was made up of business leaders from the SSA region, this proved that localisation was having a positive impact on the development of skills in Africa.
“We have to start somewhere and if we don’t, then 30 years from now, we’ll still be having the same conversation. There will be marginal increases in cost as you try ramp up, but thereafter, you would have built up sufficient competency to compete on a global scale,” said Oseragbaje.