Durban, South Africa. 19 May 2018. Volvo Group Southern Africa welcomed the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, to its Volvo Trucks assembly plant in Durban.
Also in attendance was Minister of Economic Development, Mr Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Higher Education, Ms Naledi Pandor, as well as the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Bulelani Gratitude Magwanishe.
During his address, President Ramaphosa thanked Volvo for its continuing investment in the South African economy and its commitment in particular to the empowerment and development of the country’s youth.
“Volvo is one of those companies who believe that it is not enough to invest in factories, machinery and supply chains,” said President Ramaphosa. “They believe it is necessary also to invest in society. We therefore applaud Volvo for making youth development such an integral part of its social investment programme.”
As the largest Swedish company, and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine, and industrial engines, Volvo Group employs around 100 000 people, has production facilities in 18 countries and sells its products in 190 markets.
Here in South Africa, Volvo Group is represented by Volvo Trucks, Volvo Bus, Volvo Financial Services, Volvo Penta and UD Trucks. It employs around a 1000 people across the region, including at its assembly plants here in Durban, as well as in Rosslyn.
“Our mission is to drive prosperity. On a basic level, we believe that modern logistics is a prerequisite for our economic welfare. Simply put, transport helps to combat poverty,” said Torbjörn Christensson, president of Volvo Group Southern Africa. “Most importantly, we are committed to influence growth towards a sustainable society. We create societal value by actively engaging in the communities where we live and operate.”
Volvo Group has been actively engaged with South African communities to implement numerous initiatives where community needs are met by the company’s unique assets and expertise, to maximise the value created for society as a whole.
In 2015, the Volvo Group invested R80 million on a new Regional Distribution centre in the Ekurhuleni area. The company has also received preliminary approval for an investment of R150 million to build a new state-of-the-art dealership in Durban South.
Since 2015, the Group has invested more than R86 million on apprenticeship training, automotive industry learnerships, disabled person learnerships, as well as internships. The company is planning to invest another R25 million during 2018.
During the course of 2018, Volvo Group will also establish a specialised Driver Training Academy to address the shortage of skilled drivers in the region, an investment of R1.4 million.
“We are also continuing our involvement in Star for Life, a non-profit organisation that aims to provide young people in South Africa with essential life skills, sport training and health education. Just in the three years from 2017 to 2019, we are planning to invest around R7.8 million in this very worthy cause,” said Christensson.
Star for Life is an exemplary project that creates new opportunities for young people in South Africa to complete an education and to create good lives for themselves. In the process, opportunities also arise for some of the qualified youth that completed their training through Star for Life, to be employed by Volvo.
“In short, we believe in the future of South Africa. We especially believe in the youth of South Africa and the endless potential the youth holds,” said Christensson. “As a global company, with a strong commitment to the success of South Africa, we also support government’s initiative to focus on youth development as is envisioned in initiatives such as the proposed Youth Employment Service.”
He closed by saying that as a global company, Volvo Group is certainly proud of their business successes here in South Africa. “We are even more proud of the difference we believe we are making by investing in skills development, youth development, and giving back to the industry and the country as a whole,” said Christensson.