ABB in Africa

A longstanding partner in the development of the continent.

ABB has been present in Africa since the early 20th century, beginning in South Africa in 1907. Today ABB has operations throughout the continent - merging the diverse local presences that span a continent into a unified global company.

With such a long local history ABB Africa has an extensive list of significant projects helping Africa develop its economy and infrastructure, especially in the delivery of electrical power, and the development of industry and sustainable infrastructure. In the realm of power supplies, ABB has delivered everything from large-scale power projects to remote microgrids. Highlights from recent history include projects across a range of sectors, including transporting energy across vast distances, improving transportation and infrastructure, improving industry:

  • Upgrading Algeria's power grid through supplying turnkey substations and control systems
  • Delivering a reliable and efficient power supply to the two main stadiums used for the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa
  • Supplying one of the world's largest pumping station in Toskha, Egypt
  • Ensuring a reliable energy supply for a new rail corridor in Ethiopia
  • Powering Africa’s largest copper mine in Zambia

Further developing the continent’s power infrastructure is a critical factor in enabling Africa to fully benefit from the Fourth Industrial and Energy Revolutions. The lack of access to electricity is a particular challenge for sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 600 million people do not have access to electricity. With over 50 percent of the continent’s fast-growing population due to live in cities by 2050, the need for reliable, sustainable energy is crucial.

Of Congo's 70 million people, more than 8 in 10 have no access to electricity

To that end, new technologies can bring innovative solutions. For example, renewables-powered microgrids from ABB have already demonstrated their efficacy in delivering a reliable, high-quality power supply. In northern Kenya, for instance, the remote town of Marsabit with a population of 5,000, relies exclusively on a wind- and diesel-powered microgrid, which ABB upgraded to maximize the use of wind energy.

Most recently ABB installed an integrated solar-diesel microgrid at its Longmeadow premises in Johannesburg, South Africa. The 96,000 square meter facility houses ABB’s South Africa headquarters as well as manufacturing facilities, with around 1,000 employees.

ABB will power the largest logistics hub of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) through a state-of-the-art microgrid, delivering reliable power for the first time in a region exposed to frequent outages and power quality issues.

Local expertise is also essential to understanding and delivering customer needs. ABB Africa, with around 5’000 employees, is playing an important role in the training and retention of a workforce fit for the challenges of the Twenty-First Century, investing in university training programs that bring students to key ABB locations, and attracting future employees by engaging with high school students through a range of corporate social investment projects.

Africa is poised for a new era of growth and development. Having already laid a strong foundation, ABB is building on the momentum, leading the way towards to a further developed, yet sustainable future - helping to drive transformational change in African countries through delivering solutions that include data centers, transport solutions, automation and robots and intelligent management systems.


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