COMPUTING

Nigeria's top PC maker eyes expansion abroad

Nigeria’s laptops and largest PC manufacturer, Omatek, is targeting continental growth, after establishing a market base in West Africa. The company has manufacturing plants in Ghana and Nigeria and has enjoyed significant recognition from governments, supplying PCs to educational institutions as well as other public sectors in the region.

"Omatek has a contract with the Ghanaian government to supply PCs to educational institutions. This shows our products are quality and serving important sectors," said Florence Seriki, Group CEO, Omatek Ventures.

Competition and provision of quality products at affordable prices is one of the challenges that local companies deal with, compared to global brands that have access to capital and some of the best raw material providers.

"Omatek PCs are at par with other global brands. We buy raw materials from Taiwan. Our chips are from Intel and AMD, which makes the cost of production almost the similar to other global brands," added Seriki.

The company sells about 10,000 PCs a month, but with a population of 150 million in Nigeria alone, the company is forecasting increased growth as the countries get connected to the fiber optic cables and costs of connectivity fall. West Africa has Sat3 cable and this year Glo and Main One fiber optic cables have entered the markets.

Access to capital is a challenge for many companies competing with global brands but Omatek is listed at the stock exchange in Nigeria, making access to capital easier. "Manufacturers require intensive capital, especially when raw materials have to be imported; we import several containers of raw products in a month and our advantage is that capital is not an issue," added Seriki.

Most countries in the region have zero-rated importation of computer accessories and for the factories Omatek enjoys other government tax rebates even though they are still advocating for VAT removal in some countries.

Faced with the challenge of making its products available and affordable to lower market segments without compromising on quality, Omatek has opted to load PCs with open source software with a dual functionality with preparatory software.

"The cost of producing one of our PC models is $140. Then we have to add the cost of the operating system. Open source allows us to provide affordable PCs especially to educational institutions," said Seriki.

Open source is still new for many users in the region; which has forced Omatek to partner with other institutions to train more people and raise awareness on its benefits.

Source: Computer World Africa

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