Chevron Press Release - Chevron Chairman Encourages Global Investment In Emerging African Economies
HARARE, ZIMBABWE, July 24, 1997 -- In a keynote address at the fourth African/African-American Summit, Chevron Corp. Chairman Ken Derr today urged international businesses and African leaders to form partnerships that yield not only economic benefits, but enhance education, health and the social stability of African nations.
"Africa is at a critical convergence of time and opportunity," said Derr, noting that the U.S. and other governments are starting to appreciate the strengthening economic prospects of a growing number of sub-Saharan countries. "With more than 600 million people, sub-Saharan Africa is one of the world's great untapped markets. And if the Asian Tigers emerged in just one generation, so too can the 'Lions of Africa'."
Coordinated by the Rev. Leon Sullivan of Phoenix, the six-day Summit -- split between Johannesburg, South Africa, and Harare -- drew several African heads of state and a large number of African-American political, civic and business leaders. In workshops and at an exhibit, the Summit also featured a strong U.S. business presence.
With Africa operations that date back to the 1930s, Chevron is the largest U.S.-based investor in several of the continent's nations, including Angola, the Republic of Congo and, through the company's 50-percent Caltex affiliate, South Africa.
Chevron directly and indirectly employs tens of thousands of nationals, said Derr, and during the past four years, Chevron and its partners have invested more than $7 billion in African oil production countries.
"And over the next five years," he added, "with our partners we'll invest nearly $10.5 billion."
The summit's theme focused on the belief that the forces of such investment and economic development are the fastest and surest way for African nations to improve public health, education, technology and infrastructure, while building a stronger and broader base of African enterprise. To make partnerships a success, said Derr, corporations and governments must each fulfill a number of obligations.
From the business side, said Derr, "it's our unquestionable responsibility to use our resources to train and empower national workers, contribute to improvements in education, the health of citizens and infrastructure, while also respecting local culture. By using local contractors and helping to develop local businesses, investors can help develop and diversify local economies."
In turn, Derr said that the top responsibility of African governments is to seek peace. "Nothing deters investment more than uncertainty and conflict," he said.
Citing excellent economic developments in a number of sub-Saharan nations, Derr pointed to several common denominators that have stimulated private enterprise, including shrinking bureaucracies and streamlined processes governing business development.
Note to Editors:
The complete text of Ken Derr's African-African American speech can be found on Chevron's web site (http://www.chevron.com) in the Newsroom area. A fax copy can be obtained by contacting Media Relations at (415) 894-4246.
Updated: July 1997