Microsoft investing R1,3 billion in South Africa to boost job creation and digital transformation

Minister Ebrahim Patel and DTIC’s Malebo Mabitje-Thompson, flanked by Microsoft’s Kalane Rampai and Lillian Barnard, at the signing ceremony. Photo: Contributed

Microsoft has announced an investment of over R1.3 billion in South Africa, which will be aimed at supporting Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and preparing the country for upcoming Artificial Intelligence (AI) advancements.

Microsoft South Africa says the investment forms part of its broader strategy to foster inclusive growth, enhance the digital economy and drive innovation and entrepreneurship across the country.

“The fund will assist black South Africans in non-tech sectors to harness the power of technology and improve their competitiveness and ability to innovate and expand their operations,” said Ebrahim Patel, minister of trade, industry and competition.

“It will also act as a bridge to enable young people to get training, certification, and job-placement, so that talented South Africans gain access to the opportunities that arise from an increasingly digitalised world,” the minister added.

The Microsoft investment will focus on areas such as data analysis, Cloud computing, cybersecurity, AI and machine learning.
Furthermore, the SMME development programme will not only focus on technical skills, but also entrepreneurial capabilities that could help them become engines for job creation.

By equipping South Africans with these future-proof skills, the tech giant hopes to spur entrepreneurship, especially among females and other disadvantaged groups.

Microsoft Africa president Lillian Barnard said transformative technologies such as cloud and AI could potentially solve some of the country’s most pressing challenges while also unlocking the aforementioned opportunities.

“The world is changing rapidly, and the era of AI is ushering in a future brimming with innovation, and the opportunity for Africa is immense,” said Microsoft South Africa managing director Kalane Rampai. – IOL

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