3 min

Renewing our commitment to Africa

Africa Day Editorial

It’s Africa Day, a day to renew our commitment to this vibrant continent of 54 countries and the remarkable progress that is taking place across it.

We feel privileged to use our skills and products to build a better, stronger, more sustainable African economy. 

Here are some of the ways we are doing this:

Bringing people together

No one can live and work in an African country without being swept up by the continent-wide passion for football. We love it too, and we were thrilled to be a part of bringing African football fans together to celebrate the beautiful game for the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament, held in Côte d’Ivoire.

We provided some of the materials used to build new stadiums and infrastructure, and renovate old stadiums, so that soccer enthusiasts could get to the matches more easily and watch them in safer surroundings.

Plus, Côte d’Ivoire’s financial hub, Abidjan, now has a new interchange (Indenié) that has improved traffic flow, reducing travel time. This also helps to boost Côte d’Ivoire’s attractiveness as a tourist destination.

Boosting inclusivity

Just as we loved adding to the excitement around and enjoyment of Afcon, we are also loving using our products to make the world a better home for 476 Zimbabwean high school pupils, most of whom are disabled.

Since 2019, we’ve been working with the Danhiko Secondary School, in the Harare suburb of Mbare, just 3km away from the Saint-Gobain Construction Products Zimbabwe headquarters.

We’re collaborating with the construction company that is building new facilities for the school’s pupils and teachers, including replacing bathrooms that were condemned by government authorities. Some of the funding for this project came from the Saint-Gobain Foundation.

Building change

What’s more wonderful than making the future brighter for young people? Since we began working with South Africa’s Youth Employment Service (YES) programme, we have given 186 young people workplace training.

Through the programme, newly qualified young people are given quality 12-month in-service training positions. Of the 186 young people we welcomed to Saint-Gobain South Africa through the programme, 51 were asked to stay on after their 12 months ended.

In 2024, we’re planning to bring in another 26 young trainees, again through the YES programme, according to our YES sponsor, Othman Benjelloun-Touimi.

Africa: we’re here to stay

Saint-Gobain has a footprint in 10 African countries and has operated on the continent since the Gyproc division was introduced to South Africa in 1929. We have 1 600 staff members across Africa and its Indian Ocean islands, most of them citizens of the countries they work in.

Across Africa, and wherever we have a presence across the globe, Saint-Gobain is committed to providing sustainable construction solutions and energy efficiency while serving our customers. 

We’re people from different places and different cultures, but we have one purpose: to see Africa win.