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Nokia reinstates Nairobi regional office

Monday, July 30, 2012 - 00:00 -- BY WINFRED KAGWE

Finnish phone maker Nokia is re-thinking its strategic operations in East African just seven months after moving the operations to Johannesberg South Africa. The company has appointed a new general manager, Bruce Howe, to head operations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia and Mozambique. The East African operations will once again be based in Nairobi. Last December, Nokia demoted the Nairobi office from the regional headquarters to a sales, distribution and customer service office.

The company was restructuring its operations globally by centralising its dealings in a bid to reduce costs and grow revenues. Howe succeeds Kenneth Oyolla who was promoted to the global head of market activations for mobile phones, based in London. “I am focusing on building a leading distribution model, partnering with operators, distributors and retailers to build their profitability and drive our businesses together,“ said Howe during his introduction in Nairobi.

The Finnish giant has been struggling to keep its market share as it takes a beating from Apple's iPhone and Google's Android-based phones. Locally, Nokia feature phones are still the most popular but there are doubts how long it can stay on top as the market sees an inflow of relatively cheaper smartphones especially from Huawei and Samsung.