When you fly into the Ghanaian capital of Accra, you land in the middle of the city. Imagine for a moment that you’re traveling to Samsung C&T Trading & Investment Group’s Accra Office. You get off the plane, feeling a blast of warmth and already sensing the bustle of one of the most developed and modern cities on the African continent. And then the drive from the airport to the Accra Office takes only around three minutes!
Having learned about Samsung C&T’s Nairobi Office in our last Office Spotlight instalment, let’s head west to get up close and personal with the company’s base in Accra.
Steeped in the Gold Coast tradition
Having been established in 1996, Samsung C&T’s Accra Office is a busy base in the West African region with jurisdiction over 10 nearby countries.
As well as developing projects such as Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) initiatives, the Accra Office maintains a strong focus on trading chemicals in order to meet local demand, according to office head Jang Seon-il.
“This area was once called the Gold Coast. Ghana is rich in mineral resources, and especially gold. Because there are many gold mines, a variety of mining chemicals are needed and most of our chemical sales are directed to these mines,” Jang says.
Accra’s magnificent seven!
The Accra Office’s seven staff members are composed of a harmonious combination of long-term veterans and employees with diverse capabilities. Not only do they boast expertise in areas such as mining chemicals, they’re also equipped with French skills that can be vital for communication in the wider region.
Even if they each have their own roles to play, Jang recognizes that it is essential these team members smoothly cooperate in order to maximize their success.
“As the head of the office, I am proud of our employees more than anything else, as each individual has excellent capabilities and is diligent in their work,” he says. “We place great importance on teamwork, which is necessary to build good relationships not only within the office but also with customers in the field. With this mindset, we have formed a high level of empathy both in terms of sales expansion and crisis response.”
Based on its solid teamwork, the Accra Office received the Corporate Value Enhancement Award in the first quarter of this year. The office was recognized for its timely crisis response through active communication with the company’s headquarters and branches along with sharing on-site situations with customers.
Growing as a foreign trader in Ghana
Despite the proximity of the airport to the Accra Office, Jang admits that traveling to mines in remote regions can be tough. But long and challenging work trips are a key task for his office, and he insists that it’s important not to blame people or the local environment for any difficulties he faces.
“I think that expatriates in far-flung locations should actually be doubly sincere about their own tasks and be wary of the trap of falling into laziness just because they are far from the company’s headquarters,” Jang says.
He has also learned how to adapt and pursue opportunities with determination. “This is a place where you can experience the essence of doing business. You might come here initially with the excitement of being based in Africa, but I have found it’s a place that can help you grow as a trader and find satisfaction in the job,” reflects Jang.
Moreover, he is pleased about being able to achieve the goals he set when he arrived in Accra in 2019, including developing existing and new businesses.
“Of course, there is still more work to be done, but if I continue the trend so far then I think I will be able to work with passion and joy while I am here,” Jang says with a sense of optimism about the Accra Office’s future.