Microsoft Corporation has announced its pledge to support 10 million African small and medium enterprises by the year 2025.
Lillian Barnard, the President of Microsoft Africa, announced during a press conference in Lagos that she introduced a five-year strategic partnership with Flutterwave.
According to Barnard, Microsoft’s strategy involves equipping SMEs with key resources, essential infrastructure, and robust scaling support, all to nurture their development and foster strategic collaborations.
- “Microsoft is committed to fast-tracking economic growth in Africa through the transformative power of technology – a key part of this involves making it possible for SMEs to acquire the digital financial tools and services they need to succeed.
- “We believe greater access to technology and innovation holds the key to building thriving local businesses that will create stronger economies to enable a brighter future for all.”
SME challenges and Opportunities
While acknowledging the challenges confronting the SME space in Africa, the president also noted the latent opportunities that can be exploited for robust growth and development.
She further stated that the Cooperation is partnering with Fintech companies across Africa in an attempt to help grow the sector, highlighting Fintech’s role in the economic growth of SMEs.
According to her, access to financial services and the ability to conduct seamless transactions using local payment methods are common obstacles encountered by both SMEs and startups.
She noted that the strategic partnership between the payment technology company and Microsoft Azure aims to accelerate payment innovation in Africa and support the growth of small businesses across the continent.
On his part, the Country Manager of Microsoft Nigeria, Ola Williams, said that the growth of SMEs must begin with financial inclusion.
He described this strategy as a way to get small businesses moving from survival mode to a position where they can thrive and compete with their global contemporaries.
- “To drive sustainable growth in Nigeria, small businesses need the ability to participate more actively in the local and even global marketplace. This begins with digital financial inclusion.
- “If we want to build a more resilient country and ultimately a more prosperous continent, we must begin by giving these businesses the digital financial services they need, not just to survive, but to thrive,” he stated.