Philips moves to boost West Africa presence

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By Leslie Dwight MENSAH

Philips Africa, the continental division of the global electronics giant, plans to boost its presence and impact in West Africa, using Accra as a pivot to identify growth opportunities in the region.

?We?ve had a long relationship with the continent; but now there?s a refocus of Philips on Africa, where we see a strong and growing middle-class in countries such as Ghana,? said JJ van Dongen, Senior Vice President and Market Leader for Philips Africa, in an interview in Accra with the B&FT.

He said Philips will continue to build and strengthen relations with governments and businesses in the region, focusing on products and solutions that improve healthcare and consumer lifestyles.

Mr. van Dongen was leading a management team on a visit to Accra to unveil the newly-appointed General Manager & Head for Philips West Africa, Abdallah Khamis. Mr. Khamis will be heading the company?s West African regional office in Accra, which is expected to be fully operational by the second quarter of the year.

?Across West Africa, the strong middle class — almost 34 percent of the combined population — is creating demand for a variety of Philips? product propositions,? Mr. van Dongen said — adding that the Accra office will bring the company closer to its partners and customers in the region, allowing it to develop meaningful solutions and provide better customer service.

Through its healthcare division, Philips has partnered Ghana?s Ministry of Health to modernise and improve health infrastructure and offer clinical education to healthcare professionals. Last year, Philips? annual Cairo to Cape Town road show stopped over in Accra for the first time since 2010.

The road show focused on how Philips can work with governments and local partners in Africa to bolster maternal and child care, with specific attention paid to Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 which target reductions in maternal and infant mortality.

Mr. van Dongen, who doubles as CEO of Philips South Africa, said the greatest potential for expanding Philips? reach on the continent lies in healthcare, which is already the biggest segment of its business globally. Philips has two other divisions: consumer lifestyle and lighting.

Speaking on his appointment, Mr. Khamis, who worked previously with The Coca Cola Company in various commercial and management roles, said his main priorities will be to identify local talent that he can work with, and seek opportunities to boost the company?s business in the region.

?There are lots of opportunities in this region. My goal is to build our business through identifying growth opportunities and maintaining strong relations with our partners,? he said.

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