The previously isolated Arab Africa and French-speaking regions are set to be brought on a par with other areas around the continent in a world which now revolves around technology.
Behind this technology revolution is the German-headquartered global leader in enterprise management software Systems Applications Products (SAP), which has expanded to Ivory Coast and Morocco in recent weeks.
SAP Africa managing director Brett Parker said the company was “incredibly” optimistic about prospects in the regions and looked forward to expanding its presence further.
“This important stepping stone will allow SAP to more effectively execute on our vision and mission, as well as support the French-speaking African and north African ICT transformation agenda,” Parker said.
SAP's presence in Morocco would lead to the company’s expansion to other north African Arab countries, such as Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia.
The official opening of the new offices comes after the successful skills development and job creation programme SAP Africa conducted in 2015.
Called the SAP Skills for Africa, it is aimed at developing ICT and business skills and spreading digital literacy.
At the centre of the strategy is Africa Code Week, initiated in 2015, encompassing 17 African countries, including seven in French-speaking Africa.
SAP sub-Saharan Africa director, Jean Alain-Konan, who is based in Ivory Coast, said SAP aimed to empower people at the heart of business operations with the technological solutions needed for trade.
“We want to show to managers attending how their companies can be better managed using SAP,” said Alain-Konan.
Echoing these sentiments, SAP Africa managing director for Francophone Africa Frederic Alran, based in Morocco, said the future workforce required keen technical knowledge and practical experience in real-world business scenarios.
Nonetheless, in some parts of Africa, digital training was not accessible to all, while the majority lacked the skills required by the employment market.
“We are proud to work with our partners and customers to play our part in helping address this challenge,” Alran said.
Since opening their first offices in Africa in Joburg, South Africa, in 1982, SAP has gradually expanded to East and West Africa’s mainly Anglophone countries.
The company, one of the most valuable in Germany, deals in sectors such as aerospace and defence; automotive; telecommunications; analytics; mining; oil and gas; commerce; finance; manufacturing; engineering; banking; asset management; research and data management.
Boasting revenue of more than $20 billion last year from its application software, the multinational corporation has a presence in more than 130 countries.
At an event in Kenya recently, companies were urged to embrace technology to avoid collapsing in a fast-changing digital world.
SAP chief technology adviser Simon Carpenter argued technology was no longer a luxury for companies but a necessity.
He warned companies failing to adopt appropriate technologies risked being pushed out of the global value chain.
“You can continue investing but that’s not necessarily going to allow you to bring in something new. This is why you (clients) should start the technology journey, if you haven’t started it yet, towards digital transformation,” said Carpenter.
He pointed out some blue-chip companies in the world’s leading stock exchanges were already reaping the rewards of embracing technology, with 87% of the Forbes Global 2000 firms being SAP customers while 98% of the top 100 most valued brands in the world were loyal SAP clients.
Carpenter said more than 251 million people globally were using SAP cloud solutions to optimise their operations. – CAJ News