Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2011 (Revised July 2011)

Renewing GE: The Africa Project (A)

by David A. Thomas and Stephanie J. Creary

Abstract

This case profiles the evolution of General Electric's African American Form (AAF), an employee affinity group, and its efforts to increase the company's involvement in Africa. The AAF formed in 1991 to help advance GE's recruitment, retention and development of black employees. By 1995, members of the AAF started asking Jack Welch whether the company was planning to develop business in Africa. After Welch invited the group to conduct due diligence, it was concluded that the timing was not right for GE to make a significant investment in Africa. Yet, when Jeffrey Immelt began attending the AAF Symposia in 2001, the question about GE's involvement in Africa resurfaced. In 2004, Immelt pledged $20 million to fund, "The Africa Project" (later renamed, "Developing Health Globally")--a GE philanthropic effort sponsored by the GE Foundation and the AAF to improve healthcare outcomes in Africa.

Keywords: Diversity Characteristics; Global Strategy; Multinational Firms and Management; Employees; Employee Relationship Management; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Corporate Strategy; Expansion; Africa; United States;

Citation:

Thomas, David A., and Stephanie J. Creary. "Renewing GE: The Africa Project (A)." Harvard Business School Case 411-093, April 2011. (Revised July 2011.)