Microsoft and M-PESA Africa partner to develop digital skills for MSMEs

Jan 9, 2024

  • Microsoft, through its Africa Transformation Office and Microsoft Philanthropies program, is
    partnering with M-PESA to support MSME Digital Skills
  • Through the Microsoft Community and Training Platform, M-PESA Africa will digitise skilling
    for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
  •  The MSME program will be enabled in several M-PESA Africa markets, including Kenya,
    Lesotho, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania

Microsoft is partnering with M-PESA Africa to support its
Capability Development Academy. Microsoft will provide access to the Microsoft Community Platform
and SME Skilling Programs to drive capacity building and digitisation for Micro, Small and Medium
SMEs (MSMEs) across several African markets.

Through the Microsoft Community and Training platform, M-PESA Africa will digitise skilling and
leverage the community platform to equip MSMEs with the necessary skills to develop stronger
business models, manage their finances and offer exceptional customer service.

M-PESA is Africa’s leading fintech and payments service, connecting over 60 million customers and
more than 900,000 businesses through M-PESA business solutions across eight countries,
processing over 91 million transactions and over $1 billion in daily value.

With the youngest working population in the world, Africa could supply the next generation of the
workforce. However, the widening skills gap must be addressed to take advantage of this opportunity.
Small and Medium Enterprises are a crucial part of contributing to Africa’s inclusive socio-economic
growth. These businesses anchor countries’ economies and can contribute to inclusive socio-
economic growth.

In emerging economies, SMEs account for 40% of GDP, and generate at least 90% of new jobs.
However, research indicates that up to 80% of African SMEs fail within the first five years, despite
having the highest entrepreneurship rate in the world. Access to business enablement tools, access
to finance, and digital skills, are some of the key potential stumbling blocks for SMEs.
Microsoft is committed to closing the digital skills gap.

Through its Africa Transformation Office, Microsoft believes in giving MSMEs tools to grow their
market access to add to the overall growth of economies greatly. The company works to digitally
enable 10 million African SMEs through relevant business apps and ready-to-use skilling content.
Microsoft skilling programs available through M-PESA business solutions will empower MSMEs to
develop the knowledge they need to manage their finances more effectively, including building skills
such as basic accounting, financial planning and cash flow management. These skills improve their
chances of accessing formal financial services such as bank accounts, financial loans and business
insurance. In turn, adopting digital tools helps provide access to digital payment systems, which can
help MSMEs save time and reduce the costs associated with manual transactions. Microsoft’s skilling
programs will also help MSMEs develop the entrepreneurial skills they need to start and grow a
successful business.

The program aims to improve livelihoods for MSME entrepreneurs and their communities and,
hopefully, open opportunities for these small businesses to compete in the global market. At the heart
of the MSME upskilling program is the goal of reducing inequalities and empowering vulnerable
groups, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 10. The program will be
enabled in several M-PESA Africa markets, including Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, the Democratic
Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.

“In line with our purpose of transforming lives, we continue to pursue innovations and partnerships
that connect customers and businesses across the continent to more opportunities while uplifting their
livelihoods. We are excited to partner with Microsoft to upskill entrepreneurs and provide them with