Microsoft invests R1.3 billion in South Africa

 ·22 May 2024

Microsoft South Africa says it has committed R1.3 billion to developing critical skills in the digital economy in the country, which will help small and medium businesses train their workforces to adapt to modern technologies.

The group said it will establish a fund to assist non-tech sectors to develop fluency in cloud, security, data analysis, AI and machine learning, which it hopes will fuel job creating and foster entrepreneurship in South Africa.

“It will enable SMMEs to be engines of growth and expand local industry for South Africa,” it said.

“The digital revolution requires people with enhanced fluency in cloud, security, data analysis, AI, and machine learning. Through this investment, Microsoft is equipping present and future workers with the advanced skills needed to enable them to harness the potential of rapidly developing technologies.”

The Department of Trade and Industry said that funding will especially target businesses owned by women and other previously disadvantaged individuals.

“The programmes are designed to build ICT capability in SMMEs and youth so that South Africans can create new ways to address youth unemployment, employability, inequality, sustainability, and global competitiveness in the areas of Data Analytics, Cybersecurity, AI, Machine Learning amongst others,” Microsoft said.

The group said that its SMME development programme will focus on technical skills (for those organisations in the ICT sector) and also entrepreneurial capabilities, “which will create sustainable businesses in South Africa and also enable them to become engines for job creation”.

“Transformative technologies, such as cloud and AI, have the potential to solve some of South Africa’s most pressing challenges while also unlocking opportunities to fuel inclusive, sustainable economic growth,” the group said.

Microsoft added that it would also be enhancing its partnership with the government through the Public Sector Workplace Placement programme, which will allow the group to “augment skilled candidates with crucial low code/no code training, empowering them to deliver rapid prototyping and automation capabilities into key government departments”.

Read: Private sector dominates investment in South Africa

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