Microsoft Corporation has declared its dedication to empowering ten million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by 2025. Lillian Barnard, the President of Microsoft Africa, made this announcement during a press conference in Lagos, where a five-year strategic partnership with Flutterwave was unveiled.
Microsoft to Empower 10m SMEs by 2025
Barnard revealed that Microsoft’s objective is to provide SMEs with vital resources, infrastructure, and support for expansion. This is for promoting their growth and encouraging strategic partnerships. She emphasized that Microsoft is committed to accelerating economic growth in Africa by leveraging the transformative potential of technology, with a particular focus on enabling SMEs to access the digital financial tools and services essential for their success.
Fintech Produces About 40% of the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product – Barnard
Microsoft firmly believes that broader access to technology and innovation is the cornerstone for nurturing vibrant local businesses, thereby fueling stronger economies and paving the way for a brighter future for all.
Furthermore, she highlighted the vital role of fintech companies in supporting SMEs and the informal sector, which generate a significant portion of employment, accounting for seven out of every ten jobs in the country and contributing approximately 40 percent to the Gross Domestic Product of any economy.
One of the primary hurdles faced by both SMEs and startups is the limited access to financial services and the challenge of conducting smooth transactions using local payment methods.
Small Businesses Need the Best Digital Financial Services to Thrive
In Africa, approximately 90 percent of transactions are still reliant on cash, and up to half of small businesses struggle to obtain credit.
Ola Williams, the Country Manager of Microsoft Nigeria, emphasized the importance of enabling small businesses to actively participate in local and global markets to drive sustainable growth in Nigeria and foster prosperity. This begins with ensuring digital financial inclusion.
Therefore, the strategic partnership between the payment technology company and Microsoft Azure aims to accelerate payment innovation across Africa and support the growth of small businesses on the continent.
In conclusion, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a pivotal role in Africa’s development, employing roughly 90 percent of the population and driving innovation to address societal challenges. Despite their significance, SMEs encounter substantial obstacles, including limited access to financial services and difficulties in conducting seamless transactions using local payment methods. With cash-based transactions still prevalent, innovative solutions are crucial to empower and uplift SMEs in Africa.
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