Local Solutions for African Businesses at GE’s New Africa Innovation Center
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – To most people’s surprise, Africa is now the second-fastest growing economy, after Asia. One of the key reasons behind this growth is an increased focus on social innovations and social engineering to improve the quality of life in the continent. Social innovations are adding that extra dimension to help maintain the pace of development, delivering the social capital that is necessary for sustainable economic growth.
GE is making its contribution to this encouraging African growth story by establishing the continent’s first Innovation Center in Johannesburg, South Africa. An outcome of GE’s $50 million commitment to developing innovation and skills in South Africa in 2014, the new Innovation Center aims to utilize local talent, skills and knowledge to address Africa’s toughest challenges.
The center will provide the tools and space for GE to collaborate with local customers to design uniquely African solutions to business challenges. These pilot solutions will be commercialized by local business teams, leveraging the best of GE’s global methodologies and technologies. Innovation is vital for African growth because its unique environment requires customized solutions to fit with the people’s needs.
The GE Africa Innovation Center includes an exhibition space, ideation spaces for effective collaboration, an agile work space, and a learning and development space. It will also include a physical and virtual showcase of GE Healthcare’s product and services technology with a virtual connection to be maintained to the GE Healthcare Institute in Nairobi, which is currently under development.
The center will also serve as the headquarters for the Londvolota Enterprise Development Company, which was launched in 2015 with a commitment to accelerate supplier development in South Africa and equip Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to participate in the GE value chain. The center will be the first LEED certified building in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ninety percent of the project has been designed, executed and built by local enterprises.
GE’s commitment to innovation in Africa extends beyond the Innovation Center. Key examples include the anaerobic membrane bioreactor technology (AnMBR) piloted with a South African company, Sasol, as well as its partnership with USAID on the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge promoting energy solutions for communities that are outside existing power grids.
Image Credit: GE Africa