SAP to invest up to $500m in African innovation
SAP today announced a seven-year plan to up-skill local African talent and drive sustainable innovation and growth in Africa. With more than 1,300 customers across the continent, SAP is already enabling African businesses and governments of all sizes to grow, scale and globalise, as well as 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.
With the vision of helping make Africa run better and improve the lives of Africans, SAP plans to invest up to US $500 million through 2020 as it continues to build on the region’s impressive double-digit growth rate momentum. The goal is to establish the 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 already has a solid footprint.
This plan was made public today at press briefing hosted by Robert Enslin, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE and president of Global Customer Operations, and Pfungwa Serima, CEO of SAP Africa.
"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. SAP's additional investment in the continent reflects SAP’s 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.”
“SAP Africa has more than 20 years of experience successfully operating on the continent,” said Serima. “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.”
The SAP Africa growth plan is built on the following pillars:
- Accelerating industry growth in energy and natural resources, utilities, public sector, financial services and telecommunications in the core countries of South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Angola and Morocco.
- Promoting innovation on the continent by accelerating the roll-out of core innovative SAP technology solutions that can help address the enormous resource challenges Africa is facing. Africa is in a unique position to absorb the latest technology innovations, including mobile, cloud and the flagship in-memory platform SAP HANA®, as many businesses are not burdened with legacy systems already in place.
- Enhancing small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) growth, which contributes 40 percent to Africa’s GDP, by selecting Kenya as the next market for the company’s Emerging Entrepreneur Initiative, due to the strength and potential of the Kenyan market to grow and support a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Building foundational growth and skill development with the launch of additional Skills for Africa Scholarship Programme sessions in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Angola by year end by fostering an open business ecosystem of SAP-qualified consultants to execute on various projects. This follows on the heels of the announcement last year of SAP Africa’s skills development agreement with the World Bank.
“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."
SAP notes that it is already the clear technology market leader in South Africa and the organisation is seeing further strong market traction in the focus countries. Currently, there are approximately 700 SAP employees in Africa. Details of the plan announced today include the recruitment of up to 250 employees through 2015, the opening of an office in Angola and Morocco in 2015 and expanding the company's partner ecosystem and the SAP® University Alliances program in Africa.