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Safaricom, Chinese firm launch solar-charged mobile phone
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Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE and Kenyan mobile provider Safaricom on Wednesday introduced the first solar-charged mobile phone into the Kenyan market.

Branded Simu ya Solar (solar-powered phone) and manufactured under the partnership with ZTE, the handset is made from recycled materials and has an in-built solar panel that charges the phone using the sun's rays.

Simu ya Solar, which also comes with a conventional charger, will be retailing at all Safaricom shops and dealer channels countrywide at a price of 2,999 shillings (about US$39.2) and with one-year warranty.

Speaking during the launch of the phone, Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said the company is keen on embracing green business processes and products.

He stated that Safaricom has been involved in numerous projects that advocate environmental consciousness.

The launch of Simu ya Solar underpins Safaricom's credentials as a green and environmentally-sensitive company and is one of the products that herald the firm's continuous commitment to participating in the green revolution.

Safaricom has embraced green practices to satisfy customers, promote positive community relations and comply with environmental regulations.

The company has developed and implemented cost-effective internal processes that encourage environmental stewardship, ensuring that its products and services are in pursuit of the universal Green Agenda.

In this regard the company has over 36 radio base stations that are operating on renewable energy sources namely wind and solar in various parts of the country.

"Solar power is definitely the way to go as it is cheap, green and renewable. This solar-charged phone will come in handy particularly in the rural part of the country without grid electricity and urban areas with the ongoing power rationing," said Joseph.

"Our subscribers will now not have to take their phones to merchants for charging and wait all day for their handsets to charge in order to make calls. They can now talk all day and night, without worrying about the level of charge and charging costs."

Environment and Mineral Resources Minister John Michuki, who presided at the event, said going forward, sustainable companies would be those that do not just look at bottom line but also the impact of their activities on the environment in which they do business.

"Businesses will have to take due consideration of the environment and issues such as renewable energy, carbon dioxide emissions and climate change in order to remain sustainable," he said.

The minister urged Kenyans to support initiatives such as tree planting to increase forest cover and slow down climate change and its disruptive effects on lives.

(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2009)

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