Samsung using technology to give back in Africa
Samsung Electronics Africa officials recently announced the company's plans to contribute to the efforts others are making to help the continent reach its Sustainable Development Goals.
Samsung's corporate citizenship and public affairs manager Abey Tau outlined the company's intentions during the 2016 Samsung Africa Forum.
"As a global citizen, we felt it was important to use our technology to give back to society," Tau said. "We do this in four ways: by creating new learning opportunities so that young people can enjoy access to better education; by using our technical expertise to develop and provide access to new healthcare solutions; by supporting youth employment through vocational training and skills development; and by reducing our impact on the environment.”
Recent World Bank statistics showed that half of all children worldwide who do not attend school are from Sub-Saharan Africa. Those children become adults who can't find good jobs because of their lack of education.
This being the case, Samsung has become committed to making education more accessible to all African children by bringing in digital technology via Solar Powered Internet Schools, Smart Schools and E-Learning Academies.
To launch these schools, Samsung representatives work with educators to develop effective schools. One school was opened earlier this month in Nigeria; Samsung plans to establish educational programs in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and DRC in 2016.
Samsung also offers engineering and air-conditioning and refrigeration academies.
“Investing in the skills of the youth also benefits Samsung - the more young people we can develop with skills in the electronics industry, the more we can be assured of our ability to provide excellent service to our customers,” said Tau.
Other African initiatives headed up by Samsung include Mobile Health Centers and Digital Village, used to educate people about technology and how they can use it to better their health and education.
“These multi-purpose offerings provide a sustainable solution to challenges faced by African people, while improving their standards of living," Tau said. "The model addresses one of Africa’s largest economic challenges – electrification. The scarcity of electricity results in limited access to education, healthcare and connectivity – all of which are key to socio-economic development."
Tau said any educational initiative requires community input to make it successful.
"At Samsung, we have a vested interest in the communities we operate in and, as a result, we have come up with solutions that directly address the everyday challenges most people encounter," he said. "Over the years, our collaborative efforts – guided by our strategic focus in the areas of education, health, the environment, and skills and employability – have seen us collaborate with different communities, NGOs and governments. These collaborations have given us insights that we have used when designing the solutions we have installed in the different communities across the African continent. 2016 is another year we build on these progressive partnerships and ensure that we positively impact the lives of more people.”