Five ways IT companies can grow in Africa

by ashley

Investors are keenly studying the West African nation as its economy rebounds and its newly found oil reserves give it the potential to become a top regional producer.

According to the market intelligence firm, Welligence, which focuses on the oil and gas sector, Côte d’Ivoire’s recent discovery is significant in terms of size and commercial opportunities.

Welligence reports that the Italian energy major, Eni, estimates the deep-water find in Baleine “holds 1.5-2 bnbbl of light oil-in-place and 1.8-2.4 Tcf of gas”.

“The new play could reinvigorate interest in Côte d’Ivoire’s Tano Basin. Eni is fast-tracking the development and may sanction Baleine Phase 1 before the end of 2022. This will be Côte d’Ivoire’s first major project in decades. Associated gas production will be piped onshore, where the country has one of the most established gas-to-power markets in the region” states Welligence.

Africa Oil Week (AOW) expects Côte d’Ivoire to be a major area of focus when African and global leaders in the oil and gas sector converge in Cape Town from October 3rd – 7th 2022.

“Africa is the new energy frontier, offering a wide mix of energy solutions which could provide long term relief. This reality is likely to spark increased investment and exploration in coming years, and Côte d’Ivoire is well positioned to benefit” says Paul Sinclair, Vice President of Energy & Director of Government Relations, Africa Oil Week.

States Welligence, “Eni has been successful in creating value from its exploration efforts across Africa. Given the scale of the Baleine development and the company’s 90% stake, we expect the Italian Major will look to reduce its exposure. But the significant capital outlay and entry costs will limit the pool of potential new entrants”.

In addition, the country is experiencing an economic boost with the International Monetary Fund projecting GDP growth at 6.5% in 2022 and 6.4% in 2023. At the same time the ratings agency Fitch upgraded the country’s long-term foreign currency issuer default rating from BB to B+ with a stable outlook.

“We look forward to hosting delegates from Côte d’Ivoire and assisting the country partner with leading stakeholders in the sector. Interest in Africa’s energy potential is at an all-time high” says Paul Sinclair, Vice President of Energy & Director of Government Relations, Africa Oil Week.

With the European Commission’s plan to reduce demand for Russian gas by two-thirds in 2022 and make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels by 2030, Africa’s energy solutions are increasingly viable.

Head of African Futures & Innovation at the Institute for Security Studies, Jakkie Cilliers, recently wrote: “Constraints on Russian oil and gas will inevitably ignite the search for new supplies in Africa, the most unexplored region globally”. 

AOW will be hosted alongside the Green Energy Africa Summit at the same time and venue. 

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Securing meaningful, sustainable growth in Africa requires a precise skillset with an airtight strategy, the right product fit with a tailored understanding of the market, and crucially, forward-looking leadership. On the back of two high profile customer wins in the financial services sector, Marilyn Moodley, Country Leader for South Africa and West, East, Central Africa at SoftwareONE, says accelerated digital transformation presents exciting new opportunities for growth that are finally being shaped by and for African people and reflects on the five ways IT companies can grow in Africa. 

  1. Build a network of partnerships

Partnerships are extremely important in the technology and solutions ecosystem – in fact they are the bedrock of success. In West, East and Central Africa we depend heavily on our partners in country to ensure we can deliver, and at the same time, impact and grow the partner business. The potential in Africa is immense, but having the understanding of each country’s unique IT environment in addition to the various statutory requirements dictates the best strategy to follow.

Facilitating collaboration between local and global teams and across different territories is a fine balancing act. It demands trusting your team, insisting on transparency, and clearly communicating expectations. In practical terms, and in SoftwareONE’s case, we work within our federation and our business model of global service delivery teams within African geographies. This has proven to work remarkably well as global resources are leveraged by local teams on the ground who understand their home markets better than anyone else.

  • Adapt your business model

The reality is business models have changed and will continue to evolve apace as African businesses embrace several key digital transformation strategies. Just one example of change in action is how software vendors have drastically dropped their rebates and incentives over the last five years. These, in addition to recent economic and social headwinds, has forced many partners to quickly adapt to stay competitive. SoftwareONE’s own journey has been to take deliberate steps to transform into a human technology centre that serves African businesses. We’ve moved far beyond our roots of being a licensing partner. We are now the go-to solutions partner for the delivery of cloud strategies, migrations, deployments, advisory services, and more. We combine our legacy licensing knowledge with our technology expertise to bring about commercial and digital transformation.

  • Find the balance between in person and remote

The need for people to be the driving force behind technology became even more apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nothing beats having a direct face-to-face in-person conversation with a business partner. Ensuring teams are empowered and given the knowledge and tools to assist clients to achieve their business objectives is more important than ever.

  • Have a people-centric attitude

People do business with people. There is no silver bullet to minimise risk, streamline business processes, and reduce costs, and certainly no way to guarantee growth, but there is an attitude and approach that makes the chances of success more likely. It pays to be patient and never fast-track an engagement. It’s vital to always listen. With passion and persistence, it is possible to deliver the kind of wins that make an enormous difference to the way African organisations do business.

  • Build long term trust

Creative problem solving, going the extra mile, collaboration, and dedication are all key attributes many businesses claim to have, but few truly live by. Living up to the brand promise while staying true to clear vision is what gives clients a reason to believe. It’s what gives highly efficient teams their superpower. Better still, it ensures our customers know we’re here to walk the entire journey with them, not just sign the deal and walk away.

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