Cummins Inc. in Africa

GhanaCummins

Photograph from www.cummins.com

In June of 2011, the Wall Street Journal highlighted some of the world’s top companies that have included Africa in their investment strategies. Among them is Indiana’s own Cummins Inc.

Cummin’s has had a presence in Africa since World War II, but it wasn’t until recently that CEO Tim Solso (See his guest blog on CNBC)began to view the continent as having significant potential for investment. Cummins unveiled its Africa strategy in 2010 and plans to invest $1 billion by 2015. Additionally, Cummins' has invested in South Africa's Ithemba Institute of Technology to prepare students for the workforce. 

Africa began attracting the attention of the business community in mid-1990s when economic and political stability began to take hold. Currently Africa boasts growth rates around 5 percent and has increasingly attracted much needed capital into the continent. In fact, FDI increased from $9 billion to $62 billion between 2000 and 2008. (For more view a report by ISOKO Institute)

Solso is not the only Hoosier in the game. Hoosier companies’ exports to Africa grew by 130 percent from 2004 to 2010 outpacing the rest of Indiana’s global trade growth. Moreover, the 2011 Black Expo offered a first-time workshop on doing business in Africa’s emerging market.

As Hoosiers look to Africa for opportunity they join America, Europe, and China in a global trend that has the potential to offer profitable returns for businesses, but also to lift Africa’s economy and its poor.