SAP is joining the enterprise rush to tap into Africa's double-digit growth momentum, announcing Tuesday that it plans to invest up to $500 million throughout the continent by 2020.
The venture by the German enterprise software giant comes on the heels of a stream of other tech companies pledging investments throughout Africa's developing countries, such as the $2 billion GE plans to invest by 2018, and a $66 million commitment by IBM to provide technology services to Fidelity Bank in Ghana.
The growth plan includes an accelerated rollout of core SAP technologies such as the SAP HANA in-memory platform by targeting public sector, financial services and telecommunications companies in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Angola and Morocco – which SAP said is made easier by the region’s lack of in-place legacy systems.
"The African market is unique in its growth potential and readiness to innovate," said Robert Enslin, member of the SAP SE executive board and global sales chief, in a statement. "In Africa, we plan to engage and invest in even more markets while helping build the appropriate talent base for the IT industry, and support our customers and partners by actively contributing toward crucial technology and business skill-sets and new employment opportunities in Africa."
SAP also said it has selected Kenya as the site for the company’s next Emerging Entrepreneur Initiative, a program that offers startup services such as mentoring and grants.
Looking ahead, SAP said it plans to add 250 employees to the existing 700 already employed in African nations.