Its emergence almost two decades ago was hailed by many who had yearned for a home-grown brand to give competition to known foreign brands in the mobile phone markets in Africa. In its November 2015 edition of subtitled, “Africa’s Best Brands”, The African Business Magazine reported that “Samsung ranks number one in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana – where it has completely displaced a once dominant local brand, RLG”.
So what could have accounted for such a near set-back for such a formidable brand?
Two factors: the company is known to have executed some major projects for the governments of Ghana, Nigeria and the Gambia but it is that of Ghana which is said to have earned it some bad press. But the bigger reason perhaps could be attributed to the company weak R & D might have contributed to its dwindled fortunes regarding its initial products.
But a lot more has been done to return the brand to its “winning ways”. With a well-equipped laboratories, an enhanced R&D, a retooled working plants and the creation of an integrated e-commerce solutions, focusing on online sales, customer experience, customer novelty and an expanded market. Last year alone, the company shipped 2.5 million products from its four plants in China, Ghana, Nigeria and the Gambia. Fifty percent of shipment were for the global market, 30% for the Nigerian market and the rest of sub-sahara Africa shared the remaining 20%. The company’s forecast says it hopes to increase global sales by 20% relying on its expertise also in security services, training and youth empowerment.
In Nigeria for instance, RLG, is deeply involved in an initiative announced by Intel Corporation recently. The new initiative aimed at educating and bringing more affordable and accessible ICT solutions to Nigerians as part of its sustained commitment to improvement of ICT skills in millions of youths and entrepreneurs and Nigeria’s sustainable economic growth. The initiative, which is being pursued in collaboration with major global players in the ICT, banking and telecommunications sectors such as Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo, Hewlett Packard, HP, Asus, Tecno, Zinox, Airtel and Diamond Bank, is designed to help Nigerians better understand how an affordable PC with more functionality and operational features can improve their lives.
Specifically, the programme is designed as a multiyear programme that leverages partnerships from both private organisations and the government to ensure that a laptop and internet are affordable and accessible to Nigerians from all works of life.
The project’s goal is to expand the laptop and broadband market reach to other states, partnering with Diamond Bank and Airtel to achieve a truly smart and connected Nigeria. Speaking at the unveiling of the initiative that comes with the message ‘With a Computer You are Powerful’ in Lagos, Intel’s Regional Director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) Cidgem Ertem, explained that the purpose of the collaboration with other ecosystem partners in Nigeria was to help in creating enabling environment for improved PCs and ICT skills acquisition for millions of Nigerian youths and entrepreneurs as a means of creating a knowledgeable workforce required for Nigeria’s competitiveness in the global economy.
According to her, the programme will further help bridge the innovation and entrepreneurship gaps in the economy and by so doing foster the diversification of the nation’s economic base.
“At Intel, we are committed to enriching lives through technology but most importantly empowerment through programs that are aimed at equipping people with the right technology skill sets. “The joint PC adoption initiative is one of the ways we will urge consumers to pursue their passions and creativity using the latest PC devices powered by Intel processor”, she added.
In his remarks at the forum, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation/Youth Empowerment, Mr Afolabi Imokhuede, restated Federal Government’s determination to tackle youth unemployment in the country as a strategic step towards creating a competent workforce needed by Nigeria to become globally competitive.
While commending the Intel and other partners on the affordable PC and Internet penetration for their focus on ICT skills development for youths and entrepreneurs in the country, he however harped on the need for all stakeholders to support the drive towards delivering affordable PCs to the Nigerian market. The President’s aide, who also spoke on programmes of government targeted at improving the competencies of the labour force, said that beyond the ICT tools there was also the need for stakeholders to focus on content development and vocational trainings in order to realise the laudable objectives.
Rlg is the only indigenous company with a manufacturing plant in Nigeria. It assembles set up boxes, laptops, desktops, mobile phones and ICT devices. Nigeria has become Rlg’s promising market which has a population of over 178.5m. The company is also credited with being the first international firm to start a youth employment program in Nigeria at the with Osun state.
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