SAP launches $500m strategy for training and innovation in Africa

Out-Law News | 28 Aug 2014 | 2:11 pm | 1 min. read

Germany-based software and services provider SAP has announced plans to invest $500 million in Africa as part of a seven-year strategy to promote innovation and growth there. 

SAP said its goal is to establish the African region as one of the company’s top-five growth markets. “Much of the direct investment will be outside South Africa, where SAP already has a solid footprint,” the company said.

SAP president of global customer operations Robert Enslin said: “The African market is unique in its growth potential and readiness to innovate... The executive board strongly believes that now is the right time to take our engagement and commitment to expand in Africa to the next level.”

Enslin said: “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 said its skills programmes for “next generation IT leaders and professionals” will include training up to 10,000 consultants by 2020 in collaboration with governments and universities.

The new strategy follows the launch in 2013 of SAP’s ‘Skills for Africa’ programme, which aims to develop information and communications technology skills in the region. The programme’s initial focus is on “key industries including public and financial sectors, utilities and oil and gas”, SAP said.

SAP currently has around 700 employees in Africa and, under the new strategy, said it plans to recruit a further 250 through to 2015. The company also plans to open offices in Angola and Morocco and expand skills training programmes in cooperation with African universities.

In April 2014, the World Bank’s board of executive directors approved $150m to finance “competitively selected” centres in West and Central Africa, offering advanced specialised studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related disciplines, as well as in agriculture and health. The bank said the continent “faces a serious shortage of skilled workers in fast-growing sectors such as extractive industries, energy, water, and infrastructure, as well as in the fields of health and telecommunications”.

In May, IBM announced the opening of two new mainframe ‘cloud innovation centres’ in Kenya and South Africa to “help expand big data and cloud computing across the continent”. IBM said Africa is expected to be part of an anticipated $3.47 billion being spent on high value infrastructure projects this year, and private companies, IT partners, public sector heads and academics are “anxious to better understand how technology can help transform their processes”