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Microsoft reinforces commitment to accelerating African customers’ growth and competitiveness

Microsoft reinforces commitment to accelerating African customers’ growth and competitiveness

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Microsoft is deepening its commitment to accelerating customer transformation in Africa with two key leadership appointments. Lillian Barnard has been named President for Microsoft Africa, dedicated to unlocking opportunities for African organisations by providing them with the technology they need to elevate and expand their businesses. Kalane Rampai will succeed Barnard as Managing Director of South Africa, helping strengthen the country’s role as a key contributor to Africa’s growth through broadscale digital innovation.

The new appointments are an important milestone in Microsoft’s on-going effort to drive impact in Africa at scale. The company was the first hyperscale cloud provider to launch an enterprise-grade data centre region on the continent and continues to invest in a robust technology ecosystem to promote economic growth. According to an IDC study, Microsoft, its partners and cloud-using customers will together generate around US$45.4 billion in new revenues through cloud services by 2026 – creating in the region of over 170,000 direct and indirect jobs. The study also estimated that Microsoft and its partner ecosystem will spend about US$3.7 billion in Africa for services and products over the next three years, supporting local business.

During the past three decades, Microsoft has invested heavily in skilling and capacity-building to catapult African digital economies into the future. More than four million young people across Africa have been upskilled over the last five years through various skilling and employability programmes, with a further commitment from Microsoft to train and certify at least one million women across Africa by June 2025.

In 2019, the company opened its first Africa Development Centre in Kenya and Nigeria to nurture world-class African tech talent by providing a platform for engineers to create solutions for local and global impact.

More recently, Microsoft has embarked on a five-year plan in Africa to build digital assets and capabilities in 10 million small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), support 10,000 start-ups with the capacity needed to scale, provide digital skills to 30 million Africans and create essential infrastructure projects to build a truly connected continent.

Barnard has held leadership positions locally and abroad at companies such as IBM and Vodacom before her appointment as Managing Director of Microsoft South Africa in 2019.

“As African organisations of all sizes, and across every sector, pivot and adapt to changing business and customer needs, they are looking for partners that can accelerate their agility, flexibility and competitiveness, while also cutting costs and driving efficiencies. I am deeply passionate about unlocking the potential for growth using technology to deliver real impact for businesses, communities and economies across the continent,” says Barnard.

Rampai said: “It’s an exciting time to step into this role, and I look forward to advancing the competitiveness of customers and businesses of all sizes and across industries in South Africa and the broader continent, enabling them to benefit from our strong partner ecosystem and best practices in on-going Digital Transformation.”

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