Korea-Africa Summit: Samsung’s 3-Decades long union with Africa

Published 1 month ago
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Samsung is participating in the 2024 Korea–Africa Business Summit – a grand-scale economic event where major government officials, business leaders and economic experts from 48 countries – have been brought together to discuss crucial trade and investment agendas.  

These business trade and investment agendas are discussed under various themes that include industrial development and investment promotion, trade expansion and job creation, the strengthening of food and mineral security as well as responses to climate change and decarbonisation – all of which are of mutual interest to both Korea and the African continent. This strategic, trade business platform provides Samsung with an opportunity to showcase its 30-year stay and investment in Africa. 

The trade expansion and job creation theme in particular, which seeks to promote economic co-operation by expanding trade between Korea and Africa; as well as by creating new jobs and business opportunities – aligns perfectly with the positive strides made by Samsung in Africa in the last three decades. Samsung has put significant focus on harnessing the power of technology and innovation to effect great positive change in Africa. Specifically, this year, Samsung proudly ushered in the new era of mobile AI on the African continent – the Galaxy S24 series. 

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Samsung’s plans to enhance its presence in the continent included the launch of the New Smartphone Assembly Plant in Egypt. The 6,000-square-meter plant that was scheduled to commence operations in the fourth quarter of 2023 was established mainly to manufacture phones for both local consumption and export. 

The company already operates a factory in Beni Suef which was established in 2014 with the current facility manufacturing smartphones, TVs and tablets. Last year, Samsung introduced Egypt-made smartphones to the market. With an annual production capacity of 6-million units, approximately 85% of the output is exported to the Middle East and Africa.

As a result of close collaboration between Samsung and the South African authorities, the company has in the last decade expanded its manufacturing presence in the country by opening a multi-million rand manufacturing plant, located at the Dube TradePort, approximately 30-kilometres north of the coastal city of Durban. Initially, the plant focused on manufacturing domestic appliances such as refrigerators and stoves with plans to expand production to include televisions and other electronic devices. 

The electronics giant also revealed its plans to build another multi-million rand TV factory at the same Dube TradePort in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Due to the factory’s success in creating jobs and giving back to the local economy and community, Samsung is expanding its operations to export products into the rest of the SADC region.

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In addition, Samsung South Africa’s landmark R280-million Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP) which was launched in May 2019 in partnership with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (Dtic), is now celebrating five years of sustained success. 

Five years in and Samsung’s EEIP programme has managed to rise to the challenge of achieving its ambitious goals. 

Measurable outcomes include an accumulative investment of R138-million to date in SME development and capacity building in the ICT sector. With environmental sustainability being one of the major focus areas for Samsung, one black-woman-owned E-waste business was supported. 

Through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, Samsung has also continued to put great emphasis on the need to empower the youth by ensuring that young people contribute greatly to Africa’s Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) agenda and objectives. To this effect, since 1994 when Samsung entered the African continent – through the establishment of the South African office, there’s been a push for a transformation agenda by investing in a number of empowerment programmes for the future, which have now led to positive social changes within the broader African continent.

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Over the years, Samsung has also been running a number of education-focused initiatives, driven through technology across the African continent. One of Samsung’s flagship programmes is the Samsung Innovation Campus (SIC)   which seeks to upskill youth aged 18-25 years in future technologies and enhance their employability. This SIC programme offers specially designed curriculum focused on technology development and is tailored to bridge the gap between conventional academic content and the dynamic demands of the tech industry. The skills acquired by students include AI, IoT, Big Data, Coding and Programming – driven through strategic partnerships with institutions of higher educations in Africa. 

In both South Africa and Lesotho, Samsung has entered into SIC programme partnerships with a number of higher education institutions. And furthermore, the company has been growing the SIC programme by rolling it out into the rest of Africa, into territories including Kenya, Malawi, Namibia and Nigeria. Samsung launched engineering academies across the continent including South Africa and Nigeria. 

One hundred were trained and 53 recently graduated in two states: Ekiti and Lagos State in Nigeria. All these graduates are now expected to deepen the pool of well-trained technicians in the African continent. Youth in Africa are now in a positive position to seize the opportunities ahead. 

Hundreds of graduates from countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and more completed the programme successfully, emerging as changemakers to lead innovation for years to come. Samsung’s commitment and continued investment in the sustainable transformation of the continent re-affirms its position as a passionate supporter and enabler of African dreams. 

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The company remains resolute in its quest to use its innovative technology, now driven by AI to make a measurable difference in the development of the African continent and that includes its strong partnerships with entities in the public and private sector; as well as the empowerment of young, black Africans and their respective communities.

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