“Africa is a huge continent with a wealth of raw materials and a growing population. At the same time, the dynamically growing economy has enormous potential for BASF. Through establishing a stronger local presence, we will be able to even further support our customers and to enhance BASF's market position,” said Jacques Delmoitiez, President, responsible for BASF's business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The company’s target is to more than double sales in Africa by 2020. Its sales, excluding oil and gas, were around EUR 1 billion in 2010. The sale of innovative construction chemicals for the booming construction industry in the urban areas of East Africa is one of the main focuses of activity, as is the distribution of crop protection products that increase crop yields. At the same time, BASF is expanding its business in the consumer sector with products such as ingredients for personal care products and laundry detergents, as well as pharmaceutical ingredients.
Here, the company is profiting from a growing middle class with rising consumer aspirations. BASF is also developing solutions to the pressing challenges that affect large parts of Africa. For the private housing sector, BASF supplies insulating materials such as Neopor®. Another key project is the fight against vitamin A deficiency. Too little vitamin A can cause blindness and makes people more prone to infections. Staple foods, such as cooking oil and flour, are therefore fortified with vitamin A with the help of BASF. “Our engagement in East Africa ensures that everyone benefits: our customers, the local population and BASF. We want to be good neighbors at all our sites worldwide. This is why we are supporting important social projects in Kenya,” said Peter van den Hoek, head of the newly established Market Development Africa unit.
Furthermore, van der Hoek will be Managing Director of the Nairobi-based subsidiary BASF East Africa Ltd. In Kibera, Nairobi, BASF is supporting a project in cooperation with the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) and local partners. The Kibera Soweto East Resource Centre provides physiotherapy and occupational therapy for handicapped children and medical care for babies and infants.
There is a counseling center that offers HIV tests to patients. The staff of the center also provides training for handicapped children and young adults. BASF wants to use its engagement to improve the prospects of the people living in Kibera. To alleviate the immediate suffering caused by the drought in East Africa, BASF has supplied emergency aid to the refugee camp in Dadaab via the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Also, this year’s Christmas collection by the BASF Social Foundation will be used to support the population in Kenya affected by the drought.
A joint project with UN HABITAT and the Kenyan government aims to improve the water supply through the Daua River in order to cope better with the drought in the future. BASF employees in Germany are encouraged to donate to this project during the month of December. BASF has already forwarded an advance of EUR 100,000.