SAP has announced it will invest up to $500 million through 2020 to train local talent and drive sustainable innovation and growth in Africa, with the overall goal of establishing the continent as one of the company's top-five global growth markets.
Much of the direct investment will be outside South Africa, where SAP already has a solid footprint. This will include SAP operations across 51 African countries, including Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and Mauritania.
The SAP Africa growth plan is built on four 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 SAP technology solutions that can help address the huge resource challenges Africa is facing. SAP says 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."
In March, SAP announced that it will power all its data centers and facilities globally, including Africa, with 100 percent renewable electricity starting in 2014. The shift will help minimize the company’s carbon footprint as it moves to a cloud business model, and will help eliminate carbon emissions caused by its customers’ systems by moving them into a “clean” cloud.
The world’s biggest brands are setting their sights on Africa for the next great economic boom. For example, the Coca-Cola Company and its African bottling partners recently announced an investment of $5 billion during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit held earlier this month. The investment will be made over the next six years, and will increase the company’s total announced investment in Africa to $17 billion.