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Society South Africa6. June 2024

Tech Giant Invests Millions Towards More Skills, More Jobs, More AI

South Africa will benefit from a $70-million investment from Microsoft over ten years to develop small, micro, and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs), create local jobs, and prepare the country for artificial intelligence (AI) transformation.

“We believe there is a massive opportunity for those willing to skill up on AI,” says Kalane Rampai, Managing Director for Microsoft South Africa. “At the same time, organizations that empower employees with AI tools and training will attract the best talent.”

Technology is changing how people work. Hence, people need the proper skills to remain relevant. As the backbone of South Africa’s economy, SMMEs will massively benefit from such investment through technology, digital transformation, and market opportunities for the sector’s growth, as they account for almost 40% of the country’s gross domestic product, employing around half of the workforce. Out of the $70 million investment package, $34.6 million will go towards an enterprise development initiative focusing on technology start-ups owned and operated by black South African entrepreneurs, $18.9 million will be dedicated to a skills development initiative meant to provide intensive training to young South African, and $8.7 million will fund research programs. The investment may boost South Africa’s AI to a market volume of $900 million in 2024 – at a 28.22% annual growth – and $4 billion by 2030.


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