August, 2011

  • Strong partnerships: the key to unleashing the transformative potential of technology in Africa

    Posted by Tracey Newman
    Small and Medium Solutions and Partners (SMS&P) Director for Microsoft West, East & Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands

    I was very pleased to see some of the best of Africa’s partner network recognised and their expertise showcased at two separate awards ceremonies that took place in Los Angeles recently. At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) held from 10 -14 July, 10 partners received WPC Country Awards, while 16 partners received Awards at the WECA Awards, a regional awards ceremony for the West, East and Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands (WECA & IOI) sales locations.  Both Awards acknowledge partners for their continued excellence in providing outstanding value to customers and the marketplace as a whole. 

    Microsoft has always emphasized that its partners form a critical part of its business model:  today there are 1.3 million Microsoft partner companies in the world, who together provide 95% of Microsoft’s revenue. The scope and scale of this network is vast, covering distributors, resellers, retailers, system integrators, Independent Software Vendors, OEM manufacturers, hosters and gamers. And our 7000 strong partner network in Africa allows us to develop, sell, deploy and support our software solutions on almost every corner of the continent.

    Our partners are certainly important to us because they help us expand our reach, but they also help us achieve something bigger: fuelling transformative innovation across the continent, by developing technologies developed by Africa, for Africa. This continent is brimming with opportunity, and we believe that our software can help realize this by improving the lives of individuals, organisations and local economies. But to do this, we need solid relationships with skilled partners – exactly the sort that our Partner Awards shine the spotlight on.

    This is why it is so inspiring to see the calibre of work our partners in Africa are producing, and why I was so excited to see the best of these partners recognized at our global partner event. They will play an integral role in increasing business aptitude and improving government effectiveness.

    On this note, I congratulate the following partners for excelling in their respective areas of specialisation:

    Country Partner Award winners:

    HERMES-SYSTEM – Reunion

    IPMC – Ghana

    Signal Alliance – Nigeria

    System Plus Pioneer Ltd – Mauritius

    Computer Revolution Africa – Uganda

    Computer Revolution Africa – Kenya

    Computer Revolution Africa –Ethiopia

    Menshen – Angola

    Techno Brain LTD – Malawi

    FTF (Full Technologies Formations) - Senegal

    West, East and Central Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands Award winners:

    Axxend – West and Central Africa (Portals and Collaboration)

    Computrade – Indian Ocean Islands (Named)

    Coretec  – Eastern and Southern Africa (Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning)

    Courts – Indian Ocean Islands (Retail)

    Elytis – Indian Ocean Islands (Distributor)

    FRCI  – Indian Ocean Islands (Learning)

    FRCI – Indian Ocean Islands (Virtualisation)

    FTF – West and Central Africa (Desktop)

    Ha-shem – Nigeria (Small & Medium Business)

    LCI – Indian Ocean Islands (Education Sector)

    Mitsumi – Eastern and Southern Africa (System Builder)

    Signal Alliance – Nigeria (Unified Communication)

    Tavia Technologies – Nigeria (Communication Sector)

    Technobrain LTD. – Eastern and Southern Africa (Enterprise Software Advisor)

    Technobrain LTD. - Eastern and Southern Africa (Independent Software Vendor)

    Technobrain LTD. - Eastern and Southern Africa (Government Sector)

  • Opening Namibia’s first Microsoft IT Academy

    Posted by Warren La Fleur
    Senior Business Development Manager, Microsoft East and Southern Africa

    Namibia recently held its first-ever National Conference on Education at which the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Hage Geingob, called upon the private sector to engage and invest in education as a means to combat the skills-shortage and unemployment challenges facing the country. Geingob went on to note that ‘education is too important to be left to the Ministry alone as education is a great liberator and equalizer and has the potential to open doors to success.’ (Source: Namibian Sun)

    This is a world view that we share at Microsoft – the belief that government and industry need to work together more than ever towards shared priorities for sustainable growth, as well as to develop thriving and competitive knowledge economies.

    In fact, just last month, we opened the doors at the very first Microsoft IT Academy in Namibia. I’m excited about this, as were all those who attended the official ceremony at the Polytechnic of Namibia Centre of Entrepreneurial Development (CED). The fact that Microsoft has already established thousands of IT Academies like this one across the world does not detract from its significance – because for Namibia, one Academy like this one has the potential to make a big difference to the local economy. With an unemployment rate of over 50 percent, Namibia is in desperate need of skilled citizens. And it’s worth highlighting that in order for its economy to thrive, not just any skills will suffice. True, in any country there is a whole spectrum of jobs that need to be filled, but the fact remains: those countries which lack a developed ICT infrastructure and the human resources to support it can’t compete on the global stage, and are unable to utilize the technologies that have the potential to drive increased productivity and prosperity. The rising dependence of businesses on IT has meant that it is now critical that a good portion of a country’s human resources are made up of skilled IT professionals. 

    While everybody knows how vital education is, creating sustainable and high quality skills development programs is no mean feat. And a  further challenge:  the rapidly changing nature of the ICT industry and the importance of keeping up to date with trends make it even more difficult to ensure a consistently high quality standard of education for this sector. That’s why it often requires collaboration between several parties, each bringing their unique skills to the table in a quest to develop something greater than what each could achieve working in isolation. Public-private partnerships are a good example of this, and have become critical in fostering the development of robust and sustainable business landscapes, particularly in developing nations. We’ve pointed before to Mauritius as an example of a country that has made great strides in successfully leveraging these sorts of partnerships. We hope to help bring this to Namibia as well, and are confident that the establishment of a Microsoft IT Academy to provide training on the most current technologies will be an important complement to the existing curriculum at the Polytechnic of Namibia, supplementing the good work they do with the very highest quality of IT skills development.

    When one takes these factors into account, it is much easier to see the broader significance of the partnership we officially initiated between Microsoft, the Polytechnic and TaTe Group, representing not only a sustainable education program, but an opportunity to stimulate the business landscape and the local economy as a whole. It is important to remember how much has been achieved thanks to great partnerships: they are the facilitators of infinite possibility.