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Samsung officially kicked of its academic programs at its new Engineering Academy in the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT) with the first class of 60 students drawn from AAiT at the new academic facility, which became the fourth of its kind in Africa. The others are in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
This academy came as part of Samsung’s agreement, via a memorandum of understanding (MoU), with the Ethiopian government 18 months ago to play a significant role in growing technology, innovation, and transformation, while creating job opportunities, according to Robert Ngeru, Managing Director of Samsung East Africa. He hopes that the academy will enable Samsung to consolidate its growing local sales volume.
“We understood we are selling a lot more products in Ethiopia, as well as Africa. Looking at growing in Ethiopia means actually having engineers who can support the products we sell,” he said. “If we sell mobile phones, fridges and TVs but they cannot be serviced or supported, it is not helpful to the end user,” he said.
Ngeru,  explained that Samsung is providing the training to engineers free of charge and during their spare time so that they do not interrupt their additional education and so that they will obtain the best practices, innovation and solutions to be employed at Samsung or its partners like Ethio-Telecom in highly skilled jobs. Eventually, they may even start their own business, which would bring in more skilled labor to Ethiopia.
Dr. Admasu Tsegaye, President of Addis Ababa University, is hopeful that this academy will help transform the University.
“We are working hard to improve our graduate programs and until we build our own capacity, we are forming consortiums with foreign investors in order to run our graduate programs efficiently and effectively,” he said.
According to the president, one strategy for improvement is linking with industry. “In our new structure, we clearly indicated that we will focus on working with industry so that we can produce competent graduates that can help transform Ethiopia from an agricultural to an industrial economy,” he said.
“The Samsung Engineering Academy will play a big role in this because there will be so many experts in our graduate program,” said the President.
The president said that the university would try to bring other companies and organizations to help establish programs at the school.
“We are willing to work with other companies and we are trying to make it easy for other companies to work with us,” Admasu said. Plans are in the works for similar programs to be conducted on other campuses.