International software company SAP has revealed plans to invest up to US$ 500 million in Africa by 2020.
They aim to implement five anchor hubs in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Angola and Morocco, which will accelerate growth within their regions.
This will form part of a seven year plan to up-skill African talent and encourage innovation and growth in African ICT. This plan will include the training of 10,000 consultants in close collaboration with local governments and universities.
Much of this investment will be outside of South Africa as SAP currently operates across 51 African countries and the goal of the company is to establish Africa as one of their top five growth markets.
Their growth plan for Africa is built on four pillars, namely:
- Accelerating industry growth in energy and natural resources, utilities, public sector, financial services and telecoms. Focusing on the core countries of South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Angola, and Morocco.
- Promoting innovation on the continent by accelerating the roll-out of core SAP technology solutions that can help address the enormous resource challenges Africa is facing.
- Enhancing small and midsized enterprises (SMEs) growth, which contributes 40% to Africa’s GDP.
- Building foundational growth and skill development through scholarship programs and fostering an open business ecosystem of SAP-qualified consultants to execute on various projects.
Some of the projects that SAP are planning to support these goals are, an Emerging Entrepreneur Initiative in Kenya and the Skills for Africa Scholarship program which will have sessions in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Angola by year end.
There are currently about 700 SAP employees in Africa. Rolling out this growth plan will include the recruitment of up to 250 employees through 2015 and the opening of new offices in Angola and Morocco.
At a recent panel discussion at the annual meeting of the African Development Bank in Rwanda, Alexander Meyer, Vice President, Global Business Development at SAP, said: “It’s no secret; there is an unbelievably high unemployment rate across the continent.
“The 500 million Africans currently of working age are projected to exceed 1.1 billion by 2040, more than India or China,” he said.
“Over the past decade, the IT sector has proven to be the major economic driver in sub-Saharan Africa, with an annual compounded growth rate of 40 percent.
“This is because it is a cross-cutting tool that enables sectors as diverse as agriculture, healthcare, power, water and governance. However, while a critical driver for growth, there is a universal shortage of skilled IT workers – and SAP Africa is going to change this.”
He concluded: “Effective innovation for Africa must be developed in Africa, preferably by Africans.
“SAP’s research centre in Pretoria, its growing ecosystem of local SME partners, distributors and clients, and its collaboration with key universities, have created an ecosystem of shared innovation that will bring about tangible change in Africa.”