Stephen Elop, Nokia Chief Executive Officer was in Kenya today for a high profile visit, which only takes him to two out of the 57 African countries, Kenya and South Africa. The CEO met developers at the iHub at a roundtable, before later meeting Kenyan journalists for a similar roundtable. The purpose of Elop's visit was to spend time with developers, the Nokia team, government officials and mobile operator executives. "I am very excited about the progress we are making and what lies ahead," he said.
"There is a reason I am not in the other 57 countries in Africa, I am only visiting Kenya and South Africa ," Elop said.
Developers and developer opportunities in Kenya
Nokia remains keen on developers in Kenya. Elop earlier met with over 50 developers at the iHub. Elop's says that his first day at Nokia saw him presenting an award to the best application then, which was by Virtual City, a Kenyan firm, which is a clear proof of talent. "There's also a well coordinated sign of support from the Kenyan government, where the government is saying mobility will help improve the lives of people in Kenya. It needs to be invested in. They are creating the conditions that are helpful to Nokia, and to our competitors to work here," he said. This has seen Nokia naturally migrate such opportunities to the country.
Nokia works with developers by giving feedback on the quality, user experience and the application quality. The firm also helps developers expose their applications to the world and help them understand what they need to do to make the applications useful over the world. Elop says there is a good example of Kenya applications that have done well in other countries.
The CEO commented that Nokia shouldn't be in the business of building apps, but should invest in skills in the community to build these apps.
Elop sees opportunities of specific application in health care and education sectors, and will work and identify developers who it will support together with government authorities to build these applications. "Nokia's strategy is not just selling devices to people, but delivering experiences that change their lives," he said.
The CEO, in addition to his vsist and talk at the iHub, also visited the m:lab incubation centre.
Nokia strategy in the region
Responding on the restructuring of Nokia's offices in the region which saw the East and Southern Africa region merged with the South Africa office, Elop had the following to say: "There were a lot of synergies and possibilities for sharing of information and best practices between South Africa and Eastern Africa countries. Our sales structure is organised around a collection of countries that work together, and South Africa and East Africa countries are in one complete are, that is managed that way. Additionally, you see the operators are playing a stronger and stronger role in the direction of the mobile industry in terms of how they sell products and how they encourage certain things with their consumers. That pattern has been quite clear in South Africa for a number of years, and our stance is that there are things that we have learned in South Africa and the expertise can be applied here in these countries."
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