The Tata group began its relationship with Africa in 1977 when it set up Tata Zambia, which was engaged primarily in the imports of Tata vehicles, marketing and providing after-sales services.

Historically, there is an older connection. Between 1909 and 1913, Sir Ratan Tata, the younger son of Tata group founder Jamsetji Tata, contributed Rs125,000 to help Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi in his passive resistance movement against apartheid in South Africa.

To Mahatma Gandhi, the Tatas represented the 'spirit of adventure', especially evident in Sir Jamsetji who travelled to America, Britain and the Far East to spread his business vision. It was this spirit which drove the Tata group to become one of the very first foreign companies to enter Africa. The focus was towards natural expansion into geographic areas and developing markets that held the promise of mutual benefit

The first business initiative entailed marketing Telco (now Tata Motors) vehicles that were manufactured in India. The group has since then explored African countries such as South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda, Ghana, Algeria and Ivory Coast, and established businesses in the areas of mining products, steel, hospitality, beverages, chemicals, energy and information technology.

In 1994, the Tata group established Tata Africa Holdings in Johannesburg, South Africa, which now serves as the group's headquarters on the continent.

Both Tata Communications and TCS have a presence in South Africa. The Kenya based Tata Chemicals Magadi (formerly Magadi Soda Company), acquired by Tata Chemicals, is also a part of the Tata group.

The Tata way of conducting business includes a commitment to support the communities in which it operates. Tata companies in Africa promote the social and economic development of local communities through education, entrepreneurship and health initiatives.

Tata Africa Holdings

Tata Africa Holdings has a strong presence in over 11 African countries with investments exceeding US$145 million. The company was established in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a subsidiary of global trading company Tata International in 1994 and serves as headquarters for Tata operations in Africa.

Tata Africa Holdings shares the core Tata values of business ethics and commitment to corporate social responsibility. Over a period of three decades Tata Africa Holdings has entered into joint ventures and partnerships with several African companies to help develop local resources and talent. The organisation today employs over 1,500 people and operates in major business sectors such as automobiles, steel and engineering, chemicals, information technology, hospitality, food and beverages, energy and mining. It has offices in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Tata Africa Holdings believes in providing quality to its consumers and at the same time improving the quality of life of the people. The organisation has a strong infrastructure base, excellent marketing capabilities, knowledge of local markets and needs, a highly qualified manpower, and its commitment to community development initiatives. A well-known and respected name in Africa, it is committed to its vision of building and sustaining relationships with cooperation and trust, creating employment opportunities, and making its contribution to the social development of local communities.