Microsoft eyes opportunity in Africa's young entrepreneurs - CNBC Africa

Microsoft eyes opportunity in Africa's young entrepreneurs

Western Africa

by Tobi Raphael 0

Demo Africa aims to connect African start-ups to the global ecosystem. PHOTO: Microsoft/Demo Africa

Microsoft sees it as a key event for the IT giant and the African continent.

This is according to Kabelo Makwane, managing director of Microsoft who attended the recently held Demo Africa event.

“For African investment it is an event that touches one of the core pillars of our drive around inspiring local economic development in the continent. It pertains to how we contribute to youths and start-ups getting them mainstreamed into the economy and creating opportunities for young people through software innovation and ICT,” Kabelo Makwane, managing director of Microsoft SA told CNBC Africa.

(READ MORE: Demo Africa gains traction in the global digital sphere)

Makwane said that even though the event is an African wide affair, the local participation has been quite significant.

“We are also pleased that we have massive significant support from government in particular through the Ministry of Communication & Technology and the honourable minister has been a very fervent champion in driving this local innovation ecosystem, driving start-ups, and also innovations in and around the country.”

He also said that the event came at a time that they have seen significant momentum and participation from Nigeria.      

“It is really encouraging because the same could not be said for the past where the momentum was a bit slow. We have seen significant growth through public and private sector participation and also international donors and funders that have really risen to the occasion in helping to support these businesses to set up.”

“The real essence of this is the fact that throughout African investments we are always looking for opportunities that will enable us to accelerate the type of investment that will contribute to real local economic development,” he said.

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The small medium enterprises seen have the support as large corporations, government and private sectors cannot make meaningful contributions to elevate unemployment and social ills that are driven by youth idleness and unemployment. Nigeria is said to be seen has a subsidiary stand alone for Microsoft.

“The first major reason is a very firm statement that Microsoft globally is very serious about Africa and is also very serious about Nigeria in terms of what this country represents in the broader context of the continent.”

He further said that it is a firm commitment and a firm sign of the corporation saying they want to invest in Nigeria and they want to be present in one of Africa’s largest markets, because historically Nigeria use to belong to a multi-country cluster and what this means now is we essentially redouble our efforts and investment in driving growth in this particular market.

Also from an investment perspective, in creating opportunities for both customers and young people who are essentially the main focus of the event, they have a lot more flexibility as a subsidiary to think local and act global.

“There is a nice catch phrase that says ‘Glocal’, we want to be more Glocal now as oppose to where we were in the past. So this means coming up with solutions and initiatives that are most relevant in a real way that can make a meaningful impact to the Nigerian context.”

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