Head, Strategic Partnerships, Microsoft 4Afrika, Soromfe Uzomah, has disclosed that strategic partnerships could provide much-needed assistance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
He shared this thought while speaking on “The race against economic inequality within emerging markets – a case for SMEs.”
According to him, economic growth is the most powerful tool for reducing poverty and improving life quality in developing countries.
The World Bank’s Poverty and Inequality Report finds that “More equal countries tend to have healthier people, be more economically efficient, and have greater social stability than highly unequal countries.
“And countries that invest smartly in reducing inequality today are likely to see more sustained economic growth than those that don’t invest. Less inequality can benefit the vast majority of the world’s population.”
However, marked levels of economic inequality define emerging markets.
And while governments have a responsibility to try to close the income gap, SMEs can have a profound impact in ensuring economic growth as reflected by GDP growth.
In his words, “SMEs represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide.”
“Formal SMEs contribute up to 40% of national income (GDP) in emerging economies, and these numbers rise significantly if we include informal SMEs.
“It’s estimated that 600 million jobs will be needed by 2030 to absorb the growing global workforce, which makes SME development a high priority for many governments.
“In emerging markets, most formal jobs are generated by SMEs, which create 7 out of 10 jobs.”
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) states that SMEs are essential for delivering more inclusive globalisation and growth.
Strategic partnerships yielding results
In Nigeria, Microsoft has partnered with First Bank of Nigeria, Vodacom Business Nigeria and MTN Nigeria to provide their SME customers with access to technology, skills development resources, business networks and an educational platform.
First Bank of Nigeria is building the capacity of local SMEs and accelerating their digital transformation.
It is doing this by providing them with exclusive and tailored non-financial solutions; giving access to technology at discounted rates and in local currency, while providing access to business networks and education through the Microsoft Virtual Academy.
Vodacom Business Nigeria provides Microsoft Azure cloud services to Vodacom customers, enabling them to optimise their operations and improve their decision-making capabilities to maintain a competitive advantage.
MTN Nigeria is focusing on capacity development, access to markets and business networks across Africa, providing access to technology while offering support in creating innovative solutions.
Microsoft has partnered with Jumia in Nigeria and Kenya to host an official store page on the Jumia online mall.
This provides SMEs with the opportunity to buy and use genuine Microsoft products and solutions with payments in local currency, helping to solve payment-currency challenges – and the intention is to grow this into other markets, including Egypt, Ghana and Côte D’Ivoire.
Innovative partnerships like these can really have a direct impact on SMEs and the challenges they face.