FORBES AFRICA (FA): How is Samsung’s partnership with the Africa Cup of Nations boosting the development of football in Africa and what was the company’s strategy behind its involvement in the tournament?
KK Park (KKP): Football is a passion we share with our customers in Africa, and Samsung is thrilled to play a part in this celebration of African football. As an official sponsor of the Africa Cup of Nations since 2008, Samsung has provided many programmes for fans to engage both inside and outside the football stadiums. For example, we have sponsored the ‘Samsung Fair Player Award’ for each game, contributing to the spirit of good sportsmanship in football. Our Africa Cup of Nations sponsorship forms just a part of our commitment to sport on the continent.
Our commitment to football in Africa is also part of our broader strategy of constantly looking for opportunities to engage with our consumers and to help them do the things they love. Just two weeks ago, Samsung and Chelsea FC hosted a Youth Football Camp in Ghana and Ivory Coast to improve the skills of children, aged between nine and 13. We also sponsor the Nigerian national football team.
By supporting sports and recreation initiatives at local, regional and international levels, we believe we can make a tangible difference in the lives of young people and our customers across the continent.
FA: How important is the African continent to Samsung’s bottom line? What is your growth target for the next five years and how do you tailor your products for the continent?
KKP: Our belief is that Africa is an incredibly important market for a variety of reasons. The growth of the market is tremendous, and so is the opportunity to develop new lines of business and even new products. For us, Africa is blazing a new path, and Samsung plans to be part of that. One of the ways in which we’re supporting African consumers is our Built for Africa product line. ‘Built for Africa’ was born from our legacy of constant innovation. Our specific insight was to take our products and to look for ways of making them even better. Often this means improving a product to help our consumers navigate their local environment. For example power surges often damage electronic products in Africa. Therefore we created products such as our SurgeSafe TVs, Triple Protector Air Conditioners, and Duracool Fridges—ll with built-in surge protection. This initiative has already seen enormous success, and we are very excited about the next generation of Built for Africa products that we will be unveiling at our Africa Forum 2012, this March in Cape Town.
FA: How does Built for Africa fit into your overall strategy for the continent?
KKP: The key to our engagement with Africa is our belief that we need to contribute to African society not only through localized products, but also by supporting the development of talent in the region. This means that Samsung is deeply committed to growing capacity in Africa. You can see this reflected in our Hope for Children program, which consists of three initiatives meant to help ensure the education of the next generation of Africans. First, we are opening our Samsung Electronics Engineering Academies, which support the development of African engineers and then help graduating students find jobs within Samsung. Our current goal is to develop 10,000 electronics engineers across the continent by 2015. Second we have developed unique Schools, Solar Powered Internet portable schools aimed at increasing accessibility to education and connectivity in remote rural areas with limited or no access to electricity. Finally, we have our Mobile Education program, which involves working with universities and content developers in different African countries to customize mobile apps and educational content for Africa.