May 01, 2012
Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) started operations in Ethiopia, with an official ceremony in Hilton Addis Abeba Hotel, on April 26, 2012, celebrating the opening of its first office in the country.
The first office in Africa for HP was established in South Africa in 1994, and, currently, the company has 17 offices on the continent.
HP has been in the process of identifying new office locations throughout Africa, and Ethiopia was one of the 10 countries selected.
The local HP office, which opened in Helzer Tower, Namibia Street, around Bole Medhanialem, is to sell products, give technical advice, and provide networking services to its customers.
HP’s goal is to address its customers more closely, especially in the transport, banking, education, and ICT sectors.
HP has its own distributors in Ethiopia, and they will still be part of the distribution channels of the company. SNAP, USI Computers, and Kenera International Trading are the preferred partners of HP. They supply printers, laptops, cartridges, and networking services in Ethiopia.
Another East African distributor of a whole range of HP products, Red Dot, which signed a distribution agreement with HP in 2002, claims that the opening of this office in Addis Abeba is very important.
“It can [help customers] avoid fake, counterfeit products and get genuine products from the company,” Eyasu Tesfaye, country manager of Red Dot, told Fortune.
HP is a US multinational information technology corporation, headquartered in Palo Alto, California. It provides products, technologies, software solutions, and services to consumers, including small and medium sized businesses as well as large enterprises, such as customers in the government, health, and education sectors. It has over 170 branches around the world, and the 10 additional branches are part of its plan to expand its presence in Africa.
The overall capital that HP has invested in Ethiopia is undisclosed, just as in other countries, according to Mesfin Mekonnen, managing director of HP Ethiopia.
“The readiness of the government and the ICT development level of the country encouraged the company to open an office in Ethiopia,” Mesfin told Fortune.
The opening of the office is expected to minimise the presence of HP products in the country’s black market, according to Mesfin.
“It is the right time to solve the problem.” Mesfin said.
HP signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Addis Abeba University to give select graduate students of marketing, economics, computer science, and business management training abroad.
“This can create three-dimensional profits among the students, company, and University, as well, because the students can fill in educational gaps before employment, the University can gain recognition by maintaining its profile, and HP can promote the company through those trainees,” Abiy Zegeye (PhD), students’ affairs and academic officer of AAU, told Fortune.
The top scorers will be selected by the University to receive training courses related to their professions in two other African countries.
Eden Wurgesa Taddese is a student who qualified for month-long training in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as to be employed in the HP office in Addis Abeba.
“There were around 20 of us when we did the phone and face-to-face interviews,” Eden told Fortune. “Finally, two of us were selected to go to the HP Learning & Development Department in Kenya.”
She graduated from AAU, in July 2011, in business administration with a cumulative grade point average of 3.8, after she was nominated in May by the University for HP’s course.
The plan for the next round of trainees is to send them to Casablanca, Morocco, and Nairobi for a six to eight-month course, according to Mesfin.
Source: Addis Fortune
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