Microsoft, through its Africa Transformation Office and Microsoft Philanthropies, is partnering with M-PESA Africa to support its Capability Development Academy.
Microsoft will provide access to the Microsoft Community Platform and SME Skilling Programs to drive capacity building and digitization for Micro, Small and Medium SMEs (MSMEs) across several African markets.
Through the Microsoft Community and Training platform, M-PESA Africa will digitize skilling and leverage the community platform to equip MSMEs with the necessary skills to develop stronger business models, manage their finances and offer exceptional customer service.
M-PESA is Africa’s leading fintech and payments service, connecting more than 60 million customers and more than 900,000 businesses through M-PESA business solutions across eight countries, processing more than 91 million transactions and over $1 billion in value per day.
With the youngest working population in the world, Africa could supply the next generation of the workforce. However, to take advantage of this opportunity the widening skills gap must be addressed. Small and Medium Enterprises are a crucial part of contributing to Africa’s inclusive socio-economic growth. These businesses anchor the economies of countries and can contribute to inclusive socio-economic growth.
In emerging economies, SMEs account for 40% of GDP, and generate at least 90% of new jobs. However, research indicates that up to 80% of African SMEs fail within the first five years, despite having the highest entrepreneurship rate in the world. Access to business enablement tools, access to finance, and digital skills, are some of the key potential stumbling blocks for SMEs.
Microsoft is committed to closing the digital skills gap
Microsoft, through its Africa Transformation Office believes in giving MSMEs tools to grow their market access to greatly add to the overall growth of economies. The company is working to digitally enable 10 million SMEs in Africa through relevant business apps and ready-to-use skilling content.
Microsoft skilling programs available through M-PESA business solutions will empower MSMEs to develop the knowledge they need to manage their finances more effectively, including building skills such as basic accounting, financial planning and cash flow management. These skills improve their chances of accessing formal financial services such as bank accounts, financial loans and business insurance. In turn, adopting digital tools helps provide access to digital payment systems, which can help MSMEs save time and reduce the costs associated with manual transactions. Microsoft’s skilling programs will also help MSMEs develop the entrepreneurial skills they need to start and grow a successful business.
The goal of the program is to improve livelihoods for MSME entrepreneurs and their communities, and hopefully, open opportunities for these small businesses to compete in the global market. At the heart of the MSME upskilling program is the goal of reducing inequalities and empowering vulnerable groups, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 10. The program will be enabled in several M-PESA Africa markets, including Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.
“In line with our purpose of transforming lives, we continue to pursue innovations and partnerships that connect customers and businesses across the continent to more opportunities while uplifting their livelihoods. We are excited to partner with Microsoft to upskill entrepreneurs and provide them with business tools that will enable them to run their businesses better and to grow their businesses. Micro, Small and Medium businesses are the backbone of African economies and therefore empowering them to succeed creates an even larger impact for their communities due to their outsized economic contribution,” said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Managing Director – M-PESA Africa.
“Digitisation can significantly enhance financial inclusion, most particularly for unserved and underserved enterprises such as MSMEs. Creating an enabling environment for these important economically active businesses that helps them thrive and participate actively in the continent’s economies is essential for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
We are proud to be at the forefront of driving MSME development and financial inclusion in Africa and we look forward to seeing the positive impact of our partnership with M-PESA Africa across the continent,” says Gerald Maithya, Managing Director, Africa Transformation Office, Microsoft.