Microsoft Partners with M-PESA Africa to Boost Digital Skills for African SMEs

Editorial Desk
By Editorial Desk 4 Min Read

Microsoft has announced a partnership with M-PESA Africa to support the Capability Development Academy and drive capacity building and digitization for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across multiple African markets.

As part of the collaboration, Microsoft will provide access to its Community Platform and SME Skilling Programs to equip MSMEs with essential skills for developing robust business models, managing finances, and delivering exceptional customer service.

M-PESA Africa, Africa’s leading fintech and payments service, connects over 60 million customers and 900,000 businesses through its business solutions across eight countries.

With more than 91 million transactions and over $1 billion in value processed daily, M-PESA plays a vital role in Africa’s financial landscape.

Africa boasts the youngest working population globally, making it a potential source of the next generation workforce. However, the widening skills gap must be addressed to harness this opportunity fully.

SMEs are crucial in driving inclusive socio-economic growth in Africa as they anchor the economies of countries and generate new jobs. Unfortunately, research shows that up to 80% of African SMEs fail within the first five years, despite having the highest entrepreneurship rate worldwide.

Access to business enablement tools, finance, and digital skills are among the key challenges faced by SMEs.

Microsoft is committed to closing the digital skills gap and believes in providing MSMEs with the necessary tools to enhance their market access and contribute to overall economic growth.

Through its Africa Transformation Office, Microsoft aims to digitally enable 10 million SMEs in Africa by offering relevant business apps and ready-to-use skilling content.

The skilling programs offered by Microsoft through M-PESA business solutions will empower MSMEs to improve their financial management skills, including basic accounting, financial planning, and cash flow management.

These skills increase their chances of accessing formal financial services such as bank accounts, loans, and business insurance. Furthermore, adopting digital tools enables MSMEs to utilize digital payment systems, saving time and reducing costs associated with manual transactions.

Microsoft’s skilling programs will also help MSMEs develop the entrepreneurial skills necessary for starting and growing successful businesses.

The program’s goal is to enhance livelihoods for MSME entrepreneurs and their communities, while also providing opportunities for these small businesses to compete in the global market. The MSME upskilling program aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 10, as it aims to reduce inequalities and empower vulnerable groups. The program will be rolled out in various M-PESA Africa markets, including Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.

Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Managing Director of M-PESA Africa, expressed excitement about the partnership, stating, “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.”

Gerald Maithya, Managing Director of the Africa Transformation Office at Microsoft, emphasized the significance of digitization in enhancing financial inclusion for MSMEs. He stated, “Creating an enabling environment for these economically active businesses 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 look forward to the positive impact of our partnership with M-PESA Africa across the continent.”

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