SAP to invest $500 million into Africa with an Innovation Centre in Pretoria

SAP to invest $500 million into Africa with an Innovation Centre in Pretoria

At today’s media briefing SAP has announced that the SAP High Growth Executive board has recognised that Africa is one of the key growth areas not just for SAP but for the world and therefore they plan to invest up to $500 million into Africa over the next 6 years. Arica takes it place amongst countries such as Greater China, Middle East & North Africa, India, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico which SAP sees as truly innovative regions.

Pfungwa Serima, CEO of SAP Africa

The $500 million will be spent based on needs identified by Pfungwa Serima, CEO of SAP Africa who is required to present to the High Growth Board every quarter where he would like to invest the money. This method allows for SAP to be highly flexible as they identify key areas that require immediate investment in order to capture the high acceleration opportunities.

Investing in Africa is not new for SAP as they have been in Africa for many years and have strategically positioned themselves as the service provider of choice due to their inherent understanding of Africa from an African perspective. This is key to success in this Africa as no “copy-and-paste” services from America or Europe work in Africa where “broken roads  are woven into the fabric of Arica” and these are some of the challenges that foreigners don’t understand.

Robert Enslin, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE

SAP is committed to the growth countries.  Robert Enslin, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE and president of Global Customer Operations shared that SAP employees over 17000 staff in the high growth countries where SAP derives 1 Billion Euros o revenue from those regions.

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.

3 Areas of African innovation

Derek Kudsee, COO, SAP Africa

Derek Kudsee, COO, SAP Africa confirms that there are 3 key areas where innovation will come from in Africa:

  1. Internet connectivity – There are currently 16 submarine cable connected to continent which make 25 Terabytes per second of data available but the current usage is under 1 Terabyte. SAP sees opportunity as the continent starts to get the “taste” of what real internet connectivity is all about.
  2. Industry needs – Renewable Energy and Natural resources is an area that requires investment as the more growth we experience the more of it we need
  3. Mobile – There are 800 million cell phone users in Africa which is 3 times the population of the US. Banking for unbanked to replace all ATM with a mobile phone.

The line that summed up the SAP announcement for me was the little mentioned line where SAP also confirmed  that they will open an Innovation Centre in Pretoria which will focus on app development and solutions for Africa. Africa is not a mobile also continent, but a mobile only continent and where the African credit card is mobile money.

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