Samsung Business Leader for East and Central Africa Manoj Changarampatt says that Africans are more likely to have their first experience with the Internet by using a smartphone rather than a computer. This explains why, while many other companies are exiting the African marketplace, Samsung is ramping up its marketing and sales efforts on the continent.
“We’re entering new countries… we’re investing into more territories, and while other companies are moving out of the African market, we’re walking into the big countries and establishing an entity by investing in infrastructure and human resources,” said Changarampatt.
One way the company is doing this is with its solar-powered, mobile classroom. Housed in a renovated shipping container, the South African village of Phomolong now has a high-tech Solar Powered Internet School, a product of Samsung’s “corporate-social responsibility initiative.”
A “supplement” to the village’s secondary school, the classroom’s solar panels are made out of a special substance like rubber so that the entire container can be moved by truck to other locations. The classroom is also insulated and well ventilated so that students are able to learn basic computer and internet skills in a comfortable, climate-controlled environment.
The panels produce about 9 hours of electricity each day, enough to power the tools inside the classroom: a 50-inch electronic board, Samsung Internet-enabled solar-powered notebooks, Samsung Galaxy tablets, and Wi-Fi cameras.
While Samsung only recently provided the public with details about the solar-powered classroom, it has been operational in Phomolong for quite a while and already received the African Solar Project of the Year award for 2012 from Africa Energy.
If Samsung’s promotion video is anything to go by, the mobile computer lab is a hit with students.
“I was just happy that finally I would get an opportunity to go into the Samsung [Solar Powered Internet School] and just hold the computer all to myself and learn all those things I’ve always wanted to learn,” said a student named Lefa in the video.