CITING economies of scale, improved infrastructure and tax reliefs, among others, Samsung Electronics has sited its first two African manufacturing plants in South Africa and Egypt ahead of Nigeria.
Though, Samsung has not ruled out the possibility of a manufacturing plant in Nigeria, the firm however, disclosed that Egypt’s plant would be serving Nigeria and other West African countries, while the South African plant would cater for the region and part of East Africa.
The firm, disclosed this during an interaction with the media at the just concluded Samsung Africa Forum in Monaco on Wednessday.
Samsung Regional Product Manager, Corrie Labuschange, who admitted that Nigeria’s market is very strategic to the South Korean firm, said hopefully in the future, a plant can be located in the country because the firm has the capacity.
“Nigeria is a strategic market to Samsung and would remain so, but because of larger economies of scale, well developed infrastructure network and tax reliefs, we had to start with South Africa and Egypt”, he stated.
He however, disclosed that the firm does some manufacturing in Nigeria, “though not Samsung owned plant, but a kind of knock down assembly business with some partners.”
Giving more insight into Samsung’s operations in Nigeria, Head of Corporate Marketing, Koye Sowemimo, disclosed that the South Korean firm already has an engineering academy in Nigeria, which is operated in partnership with the Lagos State government.
He also disclosed that the firm in April 2015, launched its first digital village in Oban, Cross Rivers state, providing innovative healthcare and education services to community members.
While the firm said it will use the engineering academies, which are also in South Africa and Kenya to churn out 1000 engineers yearly, Sowemimo said the target in Nigeria was to have 100 graduate engineers per academic year from the academy. He stressed that as part of follow up, Samsung will after the process, employ some of the engineers and also provide other forms of opportunities for others.
The firm, which currently has 39 manufacturing plants spread across the globe, explained that it’s target was to empower 84,000 young people with necessary ICT skills from 2013 to 2019, across the globe.
Furthermore, the firm said the engineering academies are expected to fast-track the entry of African youths into the electronics job market and thereby reduce the shortage of scarce skills in the IT industry.
Chief Executive Officer and President, Samsung Africa, Yoo Young Kim, said the forum was packaged yearly to give African consumers more choice and new products, stressing that the firm also uses the gathering to unite and strengthen the region’s market.
Young Kim, who gave this year’s theme as: ‘One Beat, Rise Above’, said Samsung was very keen on meeting the diverse needs of people in Africa with technology so that the continent can rise above the present level.
The firm, which claimed to contribute 29 per cent to South Korea’s Gross Domestic Product, disclosed that it plans to spend about $490 million in social responsibilities activities across its markets in 2016.