Washington, DC — Prepared remarks by Jay Ireland, president and CEO of GE Africa, at the inaugural Africare 'Creating Opportunities for Development in Africa (CODA) Summit' at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC. "Africare is proud to honor GE with the 2014 CODA Corporate Award for its leadership and investment in improving the quality of life for Africans through its power-generating programs," said Darius Mans, president, Africare. "GE's resolute commitment to developing Africa's power grid, and ensuring greater access to electricity, has paved the way for foreign and national investment in power initiatives throughout Africa."
Thank you so much for recognizing General Electric for what we have done in helping develop Africa. I would like to congratulate Aliko Dangote who we honor today for his pioneering efforts in developing Africa. Aliko is a great partner and friend to GE and is a true luminary in Africa's continued growth.
Our commitment to Africa is fuelled by our excitement of the growth opportunities that Africa offers. We are also encouraged that African governments and private organizations share in our vision to help Africa address some of the most pressing issues in power, healthcare and infrastructure.
As you all know, the power needs across the continent are massive. We need to unleash the potential of greater economic growth by developing power projects that will bring much needed megawatts of electricity to all countries in Africa. As leaders of the Power Africa Initiative, we are trying to harness resources and expertise among both the private sector and government to help speed the development and execution of power projects. We are working with local partners to help Africa exploit its 400 Tcf of natural gas reservoirs as well as explore how other renewable and thermal power solutions can be deployed to bridge Africa's 100 gigawatt power need.
And there is more that we are doing-we want to find ways to build on the energy and talent of Africa's entrepreneurs as partners and suppliers with GE-that's where the real multiplier effect comes in. We want to see small and medium enterprises grow into GE suppliers, and through us, have access to the global market. We go out and look for people and businesses that can do that, in South Africa, Nigeria, Angola and elsewhere-through supplier fairs and outreach programs. For example, Last year in South Africa, we spend over U.S.$1.2 million building capacity for over 20 local suppliers for our locomotives business.
We are also investing in developing Africa's human capital through creating employment and through local skills development. In the last three years alone, we have doubled our local employment where we now have 1800 employees across the continent and have invested over U.S.$20 million in programs to improve technical education curriculum, programs and students in many African countries.
GE can make a real difference to the people in Africa and through the GE foundation's Developing Health Globally Campaign; we are investing over U.S.$70 million in programs to address maternal healthcare and infant mortality in Africa. In the maternal healthcare space, working in partnership with Kijabe Hospital in Kenya we are funding a Nurse anesthetist training program to help address the Shortage of anesthesia health workers to assist during delivery.
We have been in Africa for over 110 years and we believe by helping solve Africa's infrastructure issues with our technologies and solutions and investing in education, manufacturing facilities and, most importantly, our African colleagues; we will see a prosperous next 110 years. So again for all my colleagues at GE, thank you for your recognition of what they have done in furthering Africa's development.