Microsoft Corporation has announced its ambitious goal of empowering ten million small and medium enterprises by 2025. This announcement was made by the President of Microsoft Africa, Lillian Barnard, during a press conference held in Lagos. Barnard emphasized the company’s commitment to providing SMEs with the necessary tools, infrastructure, and support to foster their growth and facilitate strategic partnerships.
According to Barnard, Microsoft aims to expedite economic growth in Africa through the transformative potential of technology, with a particular focus on enabling SMEs to access digital financial tools and services essential for their success. She underscored the belief that improved access to technology and innovation is crucial for the development of robust local businesses, which in turn can contribute to stronger economies and a brighter future for all.
Barnard also highlighted the significant role played by fintech companies in supporting SMEs and the informal sector, which collectively account for a substantial portion of employment, generating around seven out of ten jobs in the country and contributing approximately 40 percent to the Gross Domestic Product of any economy.
In line with its commitment to enhancing financial inclusivity, Microsoft has entered into a five-year strategic partnership with Flutterwave, with the aim of revolutionizing payment systems in Africa. One of the primary challenges faced by SMEs and startups is the limited access to financial services and the difficulty in conducting seamless transactions across various local payment methods.
Ola Williams, the Country Manager of Microsoft Nigeria, emphasized the importance of enabling small businesses in Nigeria to actively participate in both local and global marketplaces. He stressed that achieving this goal begins with ensuring digital financial inclusion.