Samsung powers across Africa


Image: George Ferreira. By BiztechAfrica
George Ferreira

In line with its plans to grow its Africa business to a USD10 billion entity by 2015, Samsung is now represented in every African country, with massive growth plans afoot.

George Ferreira Vice President & COO at Samsung Africa says Samsung’s ambitious 5-year plan for Africa, announced in 2010, is on track, with the company showing phenomenal growth across the continent.

Ferreira cites Samsung’s representation in Africa as an example. “In 2010, Samsung was physically present in seven African countries, with channel partners in around 20. We now have a physical presence in 32 countries, and are represented either through our own staff or channel partners in every country in Africa,” he says.

Smartphones drive growth

The biggest drivers for Samsung’s business have been mobile devices – particularly smartphones, says Ferreira. “Thanks to the new affordability of data, people are increasingly moving from feature phones to smartphones. Samsung smartphones, from the entry-level Galaxy Pocket, priced around USD100, to the Galaxy SIII, we have brought to market smartphones to suit all markets in Africa.”

Samsung will unveil a new range of smartphones for the African market at its 4th Africa Forum, to be held in Cape Town in March. Ferreira says the new Galaxy music handsets, to go to market across Africa, will be launched in partnership with a top music label, delivering a compelling smartphone offering for music lovers.

Taking tablets to school

Another strong growth area for the company is its tablet PCs, says Ferreira. In the year to come, Samsung aims to partner with education departments across Africa to take tablets into the classroom, to develop a tech-savvy generation who will help drive Africa’s progress.

“Education is a big part of Samsung’s overall direct investment of around USD10 million a year into Africa,” says Ferreira.  “Our smart education initiatives, part of the smart government initiatives, have seen solar powered internet schools, E-Learning Centres and Smart Schools proliferating.” The solar-powered internet schools, which are shipping containers converted to smart classrooms, run on solar power

They have now been rolled out in South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Rwanda, Botswana and Angola, with the Botswana Government and UNESCO now having placed orders to scale the program in Botswana and Lesotho, respectively.  By the end of this year, Samsung aims to have rolled-out around 150 solar powered internet schools across Africa.

Target: 10,000 electrical engineers

Another Samsung project growing fast is the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy, which gives school-age students hands on electronics engineering skills.   With six academies now operational in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Senegal  and Ivory Coast, Samsung aims to expand the project to Angola and Tanzania and increase the number of academies in some of the countries where they are already present. “By 2015, we want 10,000 electrical engineers to have gone through the training and be placed in employment in the ecosystem,” says Ferreira.

There is still room for growth in the company’s home appliance division, says Ferreira, but he believes new products coming to market in line with the built for Africa programme will boost uptake of the company’s home appliances.

Overall, he sees Samsung on an upward growth path in Africa. “We are very excited that the African consumer continues to believe in what Samsung has to offer them,” he says. 

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