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Samsung’s CSR Journey & Positive Impact in Africa

Graduates at Samsungs Innovation Campus at CUT

Mbilwi Secondary School_ First Place Winners

Mphutha distshaba Secondary_Second Place Winners

Mr Hong

21st December 2023

     

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By Hlubi Shivanda, Director: Business Operations & Innovation & Corporate Affairs, Samsung SA

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – 21 December 2023 – Since the dawn of democracy when Samsung entered South Africa, our company has been investing in education-focused Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes for the future, which have now led to positive social changes within the broader African continent.

In celebrating three decades of making a difference in the continent, we have decided to reflect on our CSR journey in Africa and share our social vision and the value of Samsung Africa. We can now proudly showcase how our CSR vision: “Enabling People, Together for Tomorrow” that is focused on enabling people through leveraging strategic, local partnerships and sharing of resources has directly benefitted various regional communities within Africa.

In our history of Corporate Citizenship in the African continent, our CSR activities have been focusing mainly on Education and Employment as well as Sustainability efforts. Our success in last three decades is also due to our Operational Synergies which were created through our ‘Associations with NGOs”. In the South African context, our CSR programmes are underpinned by our already successful landmark multi-million-rand Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP), which was launched in 2019. Our ten-year plan aims to address key developmental aspects linked to the National Development Plan and the overall transformation of the economy.

As a company, we also subscribe to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations Development Plan (UNDP). Our advocacy to the United Nations Development Goals (UNDG’s)* of “Quality Education” and “Reduced Inequalities” aims to improve access to technology, information and communication services for the youth in the continent.  

For decades now, our African businesses have been putting great emphasis on the need to empower youth. We have done this by ensuring that young people contribute greatly to Africa’s Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) agenda and objectives. To do this, we needed to ensure that the execution of our CSR strategy is linked and focused 100% on education through technology, targeting mostly the young people in the continent. This has, over time had a positive impact on youth within the regional community.

As technology suppliers, we understand the importance of 4IR in the lives of the broad youth base in the continent and most importantly access to new technologies. We have therefore been striving to use technology to develop future innovators for a better world. Our youth in Africa is currently in a positive position to seize the opportunities ahead.

Some of our education focused CSR initiatives in the continent have included the following:

The Samsung Engineering Academy (2012-2020)

To address the critical technical and engineering skills shortage that exists in the job market, our mission has been to develop technicians, technologists and engineers across the entire continent. Our company’s vision is to fast-track youth into the electronics job market, therefore aligning to the government’s Vision 2030 that encourages entrepreneurship and self-employment initiatives:

  • Established in 2011 and in partnership with the Midrand Samsung Engineering Academy, about 165 students graduated at the Ekurhuleni West College in Boksburg, Johannesburg joining the mission for Africa to be amongst the leaders of this next phase in the continent’s growth. These graduates are part of our on-going vision to develop skilled electronics technicians and engineers by bridging the current skills gap and equip unemployed matriculants from low income areas with the latest global technological skills to assist them to compete effectively in the economy.
  • In Nigeria, our Engineering Academy was established in 2012 as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative between the Lagos State government through the World Bank-supported Lagos Eko Secondary School Education Project. It was established to empower Nigerians and positively impact communities. Since its inception, it has trained over 100 students and just recently, 53 technicians graduated from this academy. The graduates are expected to deepen the pool of well-trained technicians in the country.
  • In 2021, our partnership between the Rwandan Government through the Ministry of ICT and Education was launched to equip the Rwanda Coding Academy (RCA). We supported the RCA by equipping a 30-seater innovation lab with its innovative technology in the form of 24-inch Samsung computer monitors, Keyboards and mouse’s, routers, an interactive e-board, state of the art air-conditioning for the lab as well as the server room and the cabling for the entire set-up. We were able to equip students from the academy with the latest knowledge in terms of coding and software development.
  • Women in engineering Academy - In 2018, we opened up applications for the Women Technical Programme and the Boys to Men initiative, both aimed at equipping unemployed matriculants with ICT skills. The programme, which falls under the Samsung Engineering Academy is a six-month course providing pupils from previously disadvantaged backgrounds with technical training in the field of electronics.

In addition, as an organisation that is well aware of the great importance of education, we have in recent years continued our quest of equipping young people both in high school and tertiary level with the skills and knowledge they will need to build a better world. As a company, we have launched many skills development initiatives aimed at addressing Africa’s digital divide.

Samsung ICT Smart Labs/Innovation Hubs evolution into Samsung Solve for Tomorrow

Over the past few years, we have been able to put technology in the hands of the youth from under-served communities and provided them with smart classrooms in the form of ICT Innovation Hubs/Labs. The items donated in these ICT Innovation Hubs/Labs typically included about 50 computers, six split air conditioners, one educational board, one flip board, access control and CCTV. These Hubs/Labs created access to computer literacy, the internet, basic IT and coding skills in remote communities and they included the following:

To further promote ICT skills in Africa, over the years, we entered into similar partnerships and donated ICT Innovation Hubs/Labs in some underprivileged communities in different parts of the continent, these included:

  • A Multi-million Rand investment into an ICT Project where an ICT Innovation Hub was unveiled at Adams College - aimed at benefitting the community in Kwa-Zulu Natal School.
  • We renovated a shipping container into a Solar Powered Internet School with a gadget-laden solar-powered classroom that could run for three days without sunlight. This portable classroom was donated to supplement Phomolong secondary school in a village school, in some rural parts near Johannesburg.
  • We set up an Innovation Campus (Innovation Hub) in Agona Swedru in the Central Region aimed at leveraging technology to support the dreams of young Ghanaians. In this Hub, we housed a series of coding programmes where young children between the ages of 5 to 17 years in public basic schools in the community were trained on technology and coding.
  • In addition, we donated an Innovation Hub to the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos, Nigeria.

The evolution from ICT Innovation Hubs into Samsung Solve for Tomorrow

From the Smart Labs/ICT Innovation Hubs, we have now evolved into the Global Samsung Solve For Tomorrow competition. In partnership with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), the Solve for Tomorrow programme was launched for the first time in Africa. Solve for Tomorrow competition is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) aligned educational programme.

Recently launched and piloted in 51 schools across the country, this programme is providing learners in grade 10 and 11 from underserved communities an opportunity to gain invaluable skills while solving some of the challenges within their communities. Learners are encouraged to use STEM to find solutions to some of the most pressing societal challenges faced by their communities.

In conjunction with SITA, the launch event that was held in March this year was used as a platform to announce the 2023 Top 10 schools who were going through to Phase Two (2) – where they had an opportunity to tackle a challenge and produce tangible innovations to help improve society with the help of assigned Samsung employee-mentors. With Samsung helping them with resources and mentors guiding them, the learners had to conduct research and develop prototypes for the challenges they had identified.

For their efforts, Mbilwi walked away with a prize of R100,000 cash, while in second place, Maphuthaditshaba Secondary from Acornhoek (Mpumalanga) received R50,000 and Umlazi Comprehensive Tech from KwaZulu-Natal were awarded R30,000 for completing the top three places. The cash prizes will go towards STEM equipment for each school, according to their various unique needs. Samsung sweetened the deal by rewarding each of the learners in the top three teams with a Samsung device.

Through the Samsung Innovation Campus (SIC) programme, we have successfully partnered with universities of technology including the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in the Eastern Cape and the Central University of Technology (CUT) in the Free State to develop and teach coding, software development, internet of things (IOT) and artificial intelligence (AI) skills to youth from under-serviced communities.

We have further expanded the SIC into other African countries such as Lesotho and entered into partnerships with Lerotholi Polytechnic (LP) as well as the National University of Lesotho (NUL). There is also an upcoming SIC graduation of the first cohort at LP in Lesotho on 03 November 2023. Also, we are currently working on further growing the SIC programme by expanding it into the rest of Africa, in countries that include: Kenya, Malawi, Namibia and Nigeria.

Furthermore, some successful legacy education programmes that have not only seen our youth being empowered and comfortable in the technology space but also employable with ripple effects on their families include:

  • As part of the EEIP, we sponsored a 24-month SETA accredited Air-conditioning and Refrigeration apprenticeship programme in partnership with the Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre (EASTC) as part of the EEIP programme. This programme trained about 40 selected apprentices who had never been exposed to technology before. Recently, 38 of these youth graduated as well as two that received certificates of attendance, to work with mentors to grow their skills and address ICT education for SA’s unemployed youth.
  • In 2020, as part of addressing the country’s critical shortage of technicians to service consumer electronics and hand-held devices, we sponsored a 12-month SETA accredited Electronics apprenticeship programme in partnership with Ocule IT. Through the EEIP programme, about 41 learners were enrolled in two cohorts for the 1st phase of the programme with the aim of empowering youth from rural and townships by equipping them with much-needed skills to land employment or start their own business. The programme has a broad reach in terms of participants as it has attracted candidates from the north, south, midland and coastal areas in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Sustainability & e-Waste Programme

As Samsung, we believe that the positive impact on the environment will result in lasting change that benefits all Africans in the regional community. This is an essential part of our CSR mission to put the environment first in all business operations, with several long-term sustainability programmes that include sustainable packaging design and the reduction of carbon footprints through the use of recycled materials.

As part of our EEIP that is aligned to the the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC)’s Black Industrialist Programme through e-waste recycling and beneficiation, we have seen an investment in two black, female-owned entities currently operating in the full value chain of e-waste.

As a company, we strongly believe that our CSR initiatives have over the years been empowering future innovators to achieve their full potential and become the next generation of leaders that will continue to pioneer positive social change and build a better world for all.

About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Samsung inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative ideas and technologies. The company is redefining the worlds of TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, digital appliances, network systems, and memory, system LSI, foundry and LED solutions. For the latest news, please visit the Samsung Newsroom at https://news.samsung.com/za/

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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