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Nokia shifting base to South Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – Nokia’s General Manager for East and Southern Africa, Kennedy Oyolla, is exiting the global mobile phones giant, in what he terms as part of a restructuring drive.

Oyolla said on Thursday that his departure follows plans by Nokia’s global management to move the area headquarters for East and Southern Africa to South Africa.

“To say that I’ve quit Nokia is not true. I’ll however continue in my roles until the end of this year which is going to be 31 December 2011. In January a new General Manager will be appointed to run the East and Southern Africa region,” he said.

Oyolla added that the management shifts were occurring in several regions globally where Nokia has a presence, in efforts to gain greater operational efficiencies and bring services closer to customers.

“Nokia has really dominant shares in Africa. What we are trying to do is consolidate, to enable us to fight better in the market as a business. I’ve always said in the past that Africa is our market to lose,” he said.

Nokia is currently realigning itself in Africa designating Johannesburg, Lagos and Cairo as the key hubs out of which it is going to operate.

Meanwhile in light of the newly released Nokia sustainability survey Oyolla mentioned the growing concern of the level of environmental sustainability in emerging markets, citing a generally poor recycling culture in Africa.

The survey interviewed 250 Kenyans assessing the attitudes they had towards environmental sustainability, and revealed 84 percent of respondents expressing concern about environmental issues.

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Nokia’s Senior Sustainability Manager for the Middle East and Africa Elisabeth Tanguy, said over half of the respondents were willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly mobile phone to be more proactive in environmental conservation.

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“People are ready to pay a premium for a green phone, but consumers in Kenya are also interested in eco-services. There is an interest in having green apps on the phone, so it’s about getting information on how to have a more sustainable lifestyle,” she said.

In 2010 Nokia collected 415 tonnes worth of old mobile phones, chargers and batteries, as part of its ‘Take Back’ global campaign aimed at educating mobile phone users on the importance of recycling electronic waste.

In Africa, Nokia has established the take-back programme in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa.

Kenya was the first African country to embark on the Take Back campaign in December 2008, however the initiative has since failed to make much headway.

Tanguy said awareness is a major barrier to recycling efforts noting that 70 per cent of respondents admitted to not considering recycling their mobile phone or not being aware that they could.

“About 14 percent are aware that they can recycle their phones, and about two percent actually recycle them. Kenya is not an exception we see similar levels in Nigeria and South Africa,” she said.

Nokia runs the take back campaign in almost 100 countries around the world, with over 6,000 physical take back points and will be setting up five permanent Take Back recycling points throughout Kenya.

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