With recent news of a discovered Tantalite field in Zimbabwe, just around Seke communal lands some not less than 30km away from Harare, Zimbabwe could be presenting an opportunity that Nokia will surely miss.
Last week Nokia officially announced that it will not be setting up a manufacturing plant anywhere in Africa against the backdrop of a serious potential Africa has presented to the mobile firms.
The major reason given by Nokia`s Vice President and Managing Director of Nokia West and Central Africa James Rutherfoord, while speaking at a side interview at the company’s product launch in Lagos, Nigeria was that:
“At this point in time it is difficult because most of our component suppliers, all the people that make chips; that make batteries and all the other components of the devices are not around here. They are all in the Far East. So it’s very difficult to create a factory very far away from them,” Rutherfood said.
“We need the whole ecosystem of people producing the components to be very close, otherwise we will have products which cost will be much higher if they are not close to the other manufacturers.”
Tantalite, a mineral which was just discovered by a Seke villager in Rubatika is a very important mineral used in making semiconductor and silicon micro computer chips.
This will effectively mean the same reason which companies like Nokia are shunning Africa are apparently the same reasons which they should be seriously considering investing in Africa.
Ofcourse you do not only need tantalite to make a mobile phone but with availability of raw materials in a continent, cutting on shipping costs and time factor should be actually motivating them into looking into what Africa can actually provide than the few resources it does really have.
Besides Zimbabwe other African countries have just more than the natural resources but present lots of untapped potential if carefully assessed to benefit these firms.Mpost of these phone makers are all only focused on the potential China presents!
Nokia has nine factories globally, located in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, but none in Africa, despite the huge market share that the company enjoys in Africa.
It is reported that Nokia handsets constitute 44.4 percent of the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication, with the other handsets sharing the remaining percentage. Ofcourse these figures are debatable considering that Apple and Samsung are the current market leaders in smartphones, varying with regions of concentration.
Ever since Microsoft announced its landmark Windows Phone agreement with Nokia, there have been mutterings that the company is thinking about producing its own smartphone.
In any case, Microsoft’s biggest problem is Android. IDC’s preliminary Q3 stats put Android shipments for the period at a record-breaking 136 million units, 75 percent of all smartphones. Apple’s iOS came in second with 26 million units (14.9 percent), and Windows Phone shipments totalled 3.6 million units and just 2 percent of the market. It’s still early days for Microsoft, but with HTC and Samsung both more committed to Android than Windows Phone, only Nokia is left to blaze the trail. Android also has a 77 percent share of China’s smartphone market, according to Beijing-based analyst Analysys International.
Although big names including Motorola, Huawei, HTC, and Samsung have plants in countries such as Vietnam, India, and Malaysia, and while Foxconn recently unveiled plans for a huge factory in Indonesia, the majority of smartphone production remains in China. Most of the big Taiwanese companies, includingFoxconn, Pegatron, Wistron, and Compal, have plants producing for most of the world’s biggest tech brands, including Apple, HP, Samsung, Dell, Nokia, and, of course, Microsoft.
Beside viability issues, Nokia has been a victim of counterfeiting products which have heavily penetrated the African market with Nigeria topping the list pushing the government to disconnect them from their networks.
Natural resources as of late are emerging in Zimbabwe marking it a God favoured nation and much more discipline would need to be practised by both the relevant community affected and the government arms.