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Samsung in ambitious growth plan

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11- As more multinationals continue to recognise the importance of Africa as the next frontier of business, Samsung Electronics has outlined a strategy that will see it annually double its growth in the continent over the next four years.

The firm\’s Chief Operating Officer George Ferraira told a regional forum in Nairobi that the plan which will involve aggressively marketing its products in all the African countries it operates in will enable it to achieve $10 billion (Sh8.4 trillion) in net sales by 2015.

"Our objective for this continent is that we become a $ 10 billion region by 2015, this is ambitious and I think we have the opportunity to do it because we want to empower the youth and the people of Africa to enable them deliver on their endeavours," he said.

With global sales of $135.8 billion in 2010 and $1.23 billion in Africa, the company is looking at driving innovations in its wide range of Samsung electronics to make its presence in the market felt.

To achieve this feat, Mr Ferraira said they are developing their products with a keener interest in the operating environment of the African continent. This principle, which has been captured in the slogan \’Built for Africa\’ he said is driven by the desire to create products that meet the needs of people.

For instance, all their appliances are developed with the power situation in Africa in mind. Thus, they are coming up with durable, energy efficient products that can withstand the voltage fluctuations that are experienced in many African countries leading to malfunctioning of the equipment.

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There is also the appreciation that the growth in their business will not be achieved without having a dedicated workforce and hence part of their strategy is to increase it to about 5,000 people by 2015.

This year, the company has several innovative product launches that will help in enabling them to capture more market share. Home appliances such as microwaves, televisions, refrigerators and washing machines are some of the wide array of products that have been lined up for the launch.

"In the world of digital appliances, the smarter life is supported by Samsung\’s philosophy of Smart Thinking and its commitments to advancing the market through innovations in technology and energy efficiency; The Trinity 2 refrigerator, Eco Bubble washing Machine, Crystal air conditioner, and OmniPro microwaves are some of the products that we are looking at," the firm\’s Managing Director for West Africa Idorenyen Enang.

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Despite this ambitious aims, the electronics firm said the challenge of counterfeits is one that they continue to grapple with and appealed for concerted efforts to curb the vice.

However, the contended that this and other bottlenecks would not stop them from trying to make headways in the regional market. As part of the Corporate Social Responsibility for instance, they are looking to help African countries to develop and train more electronic engineers.

The Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy (SEEA) is one such initiative that is aligned to its CSR vision and which is geared towards developing young leaders in this area.

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There are plans to set up such an academy in Kenya which will boost their goal to develop 10,000 electronic engineers by 2015.

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