We need to gain govt trust: Samsung

HARARE - Samsung Africa Electronics (Samsung) says it will need to gain trust in government before optimally investing in Zimbabwe.

The electronics group — targeting a $10 billion investment in Africa by 2015 — insisted that it will be careful in channelling capital in the local market, in which it commands a 52 percent share.

“The current investment stance is still a cautionary approach,” Gavin Claire, Samsung’s national managing director, told businessdaily.

He noted that considering the economic uncertainty the country is emerging from, the company needs to protect its business interests by “investing sustainably”.

Claire, however, said despite the cautious approach, investment will increase significantly from previous years.

“There will be a definite improvement in terms of market presence as compared to previous years, although not optimum” he said.

The African market contributes a little above five percent to the international electronic group’s bottom-line.

In countries like South Africa, where Samsung has explored full investment capacity, Samsung’s footprint is evident in gross domestic product improvements.

Meanwhile, the technology company last week launched the fifth generation of the Galaxy S series, the Galaxy S5, which Claire says will hit the Zimbabwean market by mid-April.

“The Galaxy S5 combines an advanced camera, fast network connectivity, dedicated fitness tools and enhanced device protection features as consumers stay fit and connected,” he said.

Samsung has brand shops in Zimbabwe and its consumers feel more shops would benefit both the company and them.

Last year, at its Africa forum, Samsung said it would invest in Zimbabwe “as soon as the government puts in place measures which protect our interests as the investor.”

Despite having been hit by counterfeits, Samsung is among the most used smart phones in Zimbabwe.

Parallel importers smuggling the imitations evade tax officials and other importing regulations, thus Samsung’s quest to involve government.

“Investment should be project specific. With the help of the government through laws that protect the investor we will double or even treble our investment injection in Zimbabwe,” Claire said.

Unofficially, approximately 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s population is unemployed against a literacy rate of 96 percent.

Analysts have fingered poor government regulation and policy inconsistency as the major reasons behind foreign investors shunning the country.

Claire is optimistic that investment inflow will increase significantly as time goes on due to the political stability being enjoyed by the country.

“There is potential in Zimbabwe, once there is resolve on the political and economic situation which is wearing down the investment, growth will be realised.”

“For a country with such resources, both human and economic, nothing will stand in the way since political stability has been achieved,” he added.

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