US construction vehicle maker Caterpillar will spend R1.3bn over the next 10 years on South African enterprise and supplier development.

Caterpillar said the “equity equivalent investment programme” was part of its plan to invest more than $1bn in African countries over the next five years. This will support local content, skills transfer and job creation.

“I want to commend Caterpillar for embarking on this journey with us as partners to stimulate and grow the South African economy. I look forward to seeing these commitments being executed,” Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said late on Wednesday, at an event at Barlow Park near Johannesburg.

JSE-listed Barloworld is the exclusive Caterpillar dealer in Southern Africa. It has recently opened a joint parts centre in Johannesburg to improve the availability of products to African customers.

“Our multiyear commitment will help develop SA’s industrial local supplier base to generate more inclusive economic growth, and support our goal to be a leading B-BBEE [broad-based black economic empowerment] organisation in the industries we serve,” said Chris Monge, Caterpillar director for Southern Africa.

“We look forward to working with the South African government towards transformation and industrialisation.”

Published in BusinessDay