The world’s largest manufacturer of earth-moving equipment will invest heavily in African nations over the next several years, developing a broader business base and providing training for workers. Caterpillar Inc., its network of dealers and the Caterpillar Foundation will pour more than $1 billion into projects in Africa over the next five years, CEO Doug Oberhelman announced at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in New York City.
The investment is intended to upgrade customer service capabilities, including new Certified Rebuild Centers, new dealer branch locations and expansion of Caterpillar’s Technicians for Africa online skills development program.
The Caterpillar Foundation, the company’s charitable and philanthropic arm, will commit approximately $15 million by 2020 to organizations working to alleviate poverty on the continent. The foundation has invested approximately $50 million in similar programs in Africa, many specifically tailored for women and girls, since 2010, according to a release detailing the new plans.
Caterpillar and Caterpillar dealers currently employ about 15,000 workers in African countries. The Technicians for Africa program currently provides free online training in three African nations for anyone interested in becoming an equipment technician. That program will be extended to 12 additional countries on the continent in 2017.
The investments in African nations are not part of major restructuring efforts undertaken by Caterpillar in the last year to offset a global sales slump of construction and mining equipment, according to the company.