WASHINGTON – The Caterpillar Foundation has announced its investment of $11 million to help strengthen Africa. The foundation is putting the funds into programs that target the core causes of poverty by empowering females, addressing the continent’s lackadaisical infrastructure and facilitating sustainable growth and development.
The Caterpillar Foundation is partnering with Charity: Water, whose goal is to provide every person in the world with clean and safe drinking water by giving $5 million to finance an extension of a water distribution pipeline that will benefit over 126,000 people in Ethiopia and Tanzania. The extension and creation of additional water access points will help people in these two struggling nations who currently must trek to faraway, unsanitary sources for water.
“Charity: Water is honored to work with Caterpillar Foundation in such a significant way and looks forward to putting thousands more people on the path to prosperity together,” said Scott Harrison, the CEO of Charity: Water, which has brought clean water to almost 100,000 people since 2010.
More millions will go toward addressing advocacy, public policy needs and the lack of energy access, which in particular is crucial to lifting Africa out of poverty. To this end, the foundation is working with the ONE Campaign with an initial investment of $5 million and plans to announce a further grant with ONE in several months.
“ONE is incredibly grateful for the Caterpillar Foundation’s investment in our work to help bring reliable supplies of energy to the nearly 600 million people across Africa who presently lack it,” said ONE Campaign CEO Michael Elliot. “We’re also excited about continuing our partnership with the Foundation to enhance global advocacy and campaigning around the world that inspire citizens to use their voices and take action to end extreme poverty by 2030.”
Through the Clean Cookstove Initiative of the United Nations Foundation, the Caterpillar Foundation will invest over $1 million to educate women and girls in Africa about the dangers of customary cooking methods and the advantages of implementing clean cooking approaches.
In most African countries, it is largely believed that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, so they are responsible for cooking and collecting fuel. As a result, the health impact of household air pollution caused by traditional cookstoves overwhelmingly affects girls and women.
“By involving women and girls in the design and sale of clean cookstoves and fuels, we can increase project effectiveness and help scale the adoption of clean cooking products and services around the world,” said Radha Muthiah, executive director of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. “With the Caterpillar Foundation’s support, we can better integrate women into the value chain and, in doing so, improve the health and well-being of women across Africa.”
Now home to six of the planet’s most quickly growing economies, the historically struggling continent has become increasingly attractive to corporations looking for growth and untapped markets. Wealthier consumers and more stable, democratic governments have upped Africa’s economic potential in the eyes of many world and business leaders. There is a growing African middle class that reflects an increasing base of consumers, surging from 220 million people in 2000 to 350 million in 2010.
In just sub-Saharan Africa, cumulative foreign investment has increased from $33.5 billion in 2000 to more than seven times that in 2012 with $246.4 billion. The improved environment of the continent has resulted in Africa being ranked as the world’s second most-attractive market after North America, according to consulting firm Ernst & Young.
“We see Africa as the fastest-growing market worldwide,” says David Picard, a manager at Caterpillar.
– Annie Jung