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South African Indian's firm lauded

A computer firm started by a South African of Indian origin, has been lauded for its role in community development.

india Updated: Dec 17, 2005 11:39 IST

IT major Sahara Computers, started by a South African of Indian origin, has been lauded for its role in community development in the country.

South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka appreciated the firm not only for its tremendous growth, but also for helping the government in its effort to tackle unemployment among the youth.

"The role that Sahara Computers plays in the ICT industry is impressive and encouraging," Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

The deputy president was chief guest at the second annual convention here of heads of IT component-manufacturing companies from across to discuss about innovations in their companies.

Sahara Computers, based here, was started by the Gupta family, originally from India. In its eight years of operation, the IT firm has shown tremendous growth potential.

Company chairman Ajay Gupta, responding to the deputy president's plea for business to assist the government by creating internships for unemployed graduates, pledged support to the project.

"We are committed to the development of the country and know how important it is to fight poverty and that the benefits of economic growth are distributed more equally," Gupta said as he announced that Sahara would take on 20 unemployed graduates as a start.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said the government firmly believed in private-public partnerships, which was why it had good working relationships with Sahara.

"We hope that this interaction will help us in the future as we seek to build the skills base of our country in the ICT industry."

"The fact that Sahara Computers is currently the largest operation of its kind in Southern Africa shows that it has a bright future within the ICT sector as long as it remains focused on customer care and customer service," he said.

Sahara Computers also entered into a joint venture with Sahara India Pariwar in September 2004 to expand the PC market in India.

Commenting on the success of the partnership, Jacques Roux, Retail Strategy Director said: "We have completed our first year of operation in India successfully.

"It's a joint venture, but the management is done by executives from Sahara South Africa. There are four or five of us (from here) who shuttle between Delhi and Johannesburg at the moment until the operation is fully up and running and then we will be moving onto other markets.

Roux said that based on the business that Sahara Computers was doing in India, the company had moved into the top ten customers of processor company AMD.

"This would have been quite a task to achieve if we were to approach only from a South African point of view. The pricing benefit that we could achieve from global markets would benefit South Africa as well."

First Published: Dec 17, 2005 11:39 IST