Samsung is by no means performing worse than expected in Kenya, it has become a common household brand with various brands such as laptop computers, mobile phones and television sets doing better than rivals in the country. The current trending news of Samsung’s plan to build a laptop and TV plant in Kenya doesn’t come as a surprise either; in fact, beyond its impressive sales, Kenya is strategically placed as a nerve centre of its operations in East Africa. The plant which is expected to begin operations before the end of the year is expected to create direct employment opportunities for about 900 people and more than 1,000 people indirectly in other areas like supply and marketing chains and at the same time enhancing the transfer of knowledge.
According to Samsung’s chief operating officer in East Africa, Robert Ngeru, the expected Nairobi assembly plant will be an addition to already existing Samsung’s African plants in South Africa, Sudan and Senegal. Having admitted of the existence of a similar plan in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, looks like not only Kenya is on the South Korean’s electronics giant’s agenda. We may dispute on the timing but at least everyone can appreciate that given Samsung’s impressive share of Kenyan electronics market, it was soon bound to happen, the company ships finished electronic products such as fridges, laptops, mobile phones, printers and television sets to Kenya and the entire East Africa as well. It’s not within our knowledge to indicate whether Kenyan’s president elect Uhuru Kenyatta’s policy to offer laptop computers to primary schools had a hand in the decision made by the company or why only laptops and TV’s and not phones.
Creation of a new plant in Kenya will increase the current Samsung’s employee base to about 1000, at the same time opening the lee-way for Kenyan’s to acquire vital skills necessary to becoming a regional hub for high-value technological products. Beyond just creating employment opportunities for Kenyans, the plant will benefit the South Korean’s giant operations by increasing efficiency of its supply chain, in turn cutting on costs, hence boosting its competitiveness in this lucrative business. At the moment, it’s understood the company is negotiating for tax incentives with the ministry of Trade and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). Nairobi is Samsung’s HQ from where it serves more than 16 African countries.