SAP is pouring $500m into Africa to foster innovation



Software giant SAP is getting serious about Africa and is putting its money where its mouth is by investing US$500-million through 2020 in the continent.

The announcement came at a press briefing hosted by Robert Enslin, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE and president of Global Customer Operations. The NYSE-listed company says that it intends to enable innovation and development in Africa, hence the large investment.

Through this investment SAP hopes to accelerate growth across five key regions: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Angola and Morocco. Keeping in the company’s tech ways, it hopes that the investment will upskill next generation IT leaders and professionals by training up to 10 000 consultants by 2020 in collaboration with government and universities.

Currently SAP has more than 1300 customers across the continent and argues that it is poised to enable businesses and government organisations to make the transition to a networked, technology-driven innovative economy.

“As part of this commitment, SAP Africa is now taking responsibility for SAP operations across 51 African countries, including Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and Mauritania,” says the company.

SAP is looking to join many other big tech companies making a splash on the continent. The company says it wants to make Africa run better and improve the lives of Africans. The plan is to invest the whooping US$500 million through 2020 as it will help build on the “region’s impressive double-digit growth rate momentum”.

Africa’s growth trajectory is quite impressive and most big businesses are beginning to cotton on to the continent’s unstoppable growth. For SAP, this investment will be about helping the software company to establish its African region as one of the company’s top-five growth markets globally. Much of the direct investment will be outside South Africa, where SAP runs most of its Africa operations from.

“The African market is unique in its growth potential and readiness to innovate,” said Enslin. “The SAP Executive Board strongly believes that now is the right time to take our engagement and commitment to expand in Africa to the next level.”

There will also be additional investment in the continent to which SAP says will reflect its vision to help the world run better by delivering leading-edge innovation.

“In Africa, we plan to engage and invest in even more markets while helping build the appropriate talent base for the IT industry, and support our customers and partners by actively contributing toward crucial technology and business skills-sets and new employment opportunities in Africa,” says Enslin.

20 years of great success, time to build on innovation

SAP’s CEO for Africa, Pfungwa Serima reckons that the company has enjoyed more than 20 years of successful operations on the continent hence it time to leverage that established presence.

“SAP Africa is leveraging its established presence and valued ecosystem relationships to immediately commence execution of this plan across the four key pillars that we believe will drive the greatest growth and impact for the continent,” Serima.

Innovation is a key driver for what SAP wants to do on the continent. The idea is add value to the continent through some key areas such as: internet connectivity, industry and mobile. SAP argues that these key areas are driving innovation in Africa. These three forces can potentially rejuvenate the way we see healthcare, the continent’s energy needs and the ability to bank the unbanked.

“Innovative technologies such as mobility and the cloud are among the fastest growing IT segments and are already having a significant impact on businesses’ ability to grow and innovate,” said Mark Walker, director: Insights and Vertical Industries, IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey, IDC.

“We are facing a major turning point where we either embrace the cutting-edge or remain rooted in the past. Solid, forward-looking investment plans will not only dramatically strengthen Africa’s ICT landscape, but also its ability to compete on a global scale.”



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