Philips, a healthcare, consumer lifestyle and lighting company, has showcased meaningful innovations for the enhancement of the lives of Africans at a forum in South Africa, and says its sustainability is what makes a difference to the people’s lives.
“Whether it is bringing more energy efficient lighting to urban and rural communities, or supporting hospital systems to improve healthcare infrastructure and access to rural healthcare, or helping families live healthier lives through our products, our portfolio is designed to make a difference,” JJ van Dongen, CEO, Philips Africa said.
He was speaking to Pan-African media practitioners who were in Johannesburg to experience at first-hand, the operations and innovations of the company in Africa, at an event dubbed: “Africa Innovation Experience 2015”, which took place in Johannesburg.
The participants, from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt, were provided with insight of the company’s strategic direction, technological developments and new innovative products and services.
A highly inspiring and engaging experience which brought Philips’ brand and vision for the future to life, it was supported by conceptual demonstrators, underlining the impact of the company’s innovations on people’s lives across the globe.
The event created a unique platform of interaction with Philips executives who presented details of the most recent innovations within the organisation, whilst providing a view of the innovations to come.
Philips Africa CEO said the company was committed to leveraging its knowledge and portfolio across Africa, to make a strong impact.
“As part of our corporate social responsibility efforts, we are implementing Philips Community Light Centres across rural Africa, helping to ensure that communities can extend the day and remain active and economically viable after sunset. In our healthcare business, we conduct annual training and education seminars to help improve the skills of hospital nurses and technicians tasked with operating imaging equipment.
“And in our Consumer Lifestyle business, we support training for new mothers to reinforce the importance of healthy nutrition for their babies, starting with breastfeeding. These are just some examples of how strongly we take our commitment to using our innovation to make a difference,” said Mr. van Dongen.
He observed that Africa as a market had strong growth potential and was filled with opportunities across many sectors, saying that Philips had long seen this growth potential, since entering the continent over 100 years ago, and was committed to providing effective, sustainable and value based solutions to the needs of the continent.
Thierry Boulanger, who heads Philips Lighting in Africa, said the lighting industry was experiencing the largest transformation, since the invention of the light bulb, as LEDs and connected lighting technologies were sparking the shift from lighting products to lighting solutions and systems that are sustainable.
He said while it was valuable for the illumination it provides, Philips light increasingly create social and economic value by making buildings and cities safer, more beautiful and energy efficient.
Whilst showing its determination to becoming the leading company in health and well-being in Africa, Philips believed that with its portfolio, talented and diverse workforce, and commitment to its mission, the company was well positioned to partner with its customers and stakeholders to achieve results.
Improving the lives of the poor in Africa is a huge challenge for governments to surmount, and this has become the bane of the continent’s development and progress. Giving her under-developed status, Africa is saddled with lack of basic needs key to creating a conducive continent devoid of diseases, hunger, poverty, crime and others.
With inadequate solution to these needs, blamed on limited financial resources, support from corporate institutions and other agencies, in the form of partnership or funding, has brought a lot of relief to the needy on the continent.
In business, socially-responsible companies value stakeholders as important partners in facilitating operational growth and developing a thriving market, to make the win-win agenda relevant in life.
One of such companies is Philips, which focuses on sustainability principles to the ways in which business is conducted, making the organisation’s activities, a demonstration of the inclusion of social and environmental concerns in business operations and in interactions with stakeholders.
During a site visit of a Philips mobile clinic at diepsloot, a deprived community of about 350,000 residents, in Johannesburg, Alef Meulenburg, founder of Rhiza, a Dutch NGO which manages the project, said the facility offers free primary healthcare to between 700 and 1000 children and mothers every month.
He said about 75 per cent of the community’s population were unemployed “ so Philips in partnership with Rhiza and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, a development finance institution, upgrade the status of jobless mothers to empower them to move on in life”.
Jose Fernandes, Managing Director of Philips Healthcare in South Africa, said “Philips demonstrates the technology in communities and expects governments and interested institutions to buy into it and come on board to offer solutions to the problems.”
Philips is also in partnership with the University of Johannesburg, the second biggest university in South Africa with over 50,000 student population, to offer its medical students with the required skills to build up their confidence level to effectively perform in public.
Philips has its West Africa hub in Accra, selected as the centre that will drive the company’s strategy for growth in the sub-region.
“The Ghana office has undertaken many initiatives, including the solar lantern project for rural communities and the Tema Harbour lighting project, among others,” said Mr. Boulanger.
From Emmanuel Amponsah, Johannesburg, South Africa