BY EMEKA AGINAM
The President of Microsoft International, Jean-Philippe Courtois has disclosed that the Devices and Services company, Microsoft has invested $75 million in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and other African countries in the areas of access, innovation, skills development, youth empowerment; software development; digital curriculum, skills among others.
Courtois who stated this last week during a press briefing shortly after several meetings with the company’s local partners said that , “I think so far in a new drive, we have invested about $75 million in the African Markets and Nigeria has had a fair share of that deal.
Affirming Microsoft’s status as the no .1 go-to in the driving down of data costs especially for SMEs that often don’t have the capital for IT infrastructure investment, he said that Nigeria was one of company’s most important markets in Africa hence its upgrade of Microsoft Nigeria office to a single country subsidiary come its new Financial Year 2015 which will commence on July 1, 2014.
According to him, with Microsoft’s rapid transition to devices, the corporation was set to double its efforts in skills investments, innovation support and access provision for people across the globe in general and Nigeria in particular, to create sustained economic opportunities.
A testament being the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology to support the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Week.
Also speaking, , Kabelo Makwane, the in-coming Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria said the Nigeria office elevation became necessary because of the maturity of the market; immense opportunities that abound; fast economic growth; skills deposit as well as large enterprise that exist.
According to him, there is urgent need to support these all.
Makwane also noted that under the 4Afrika initiative which goal is the empowerment of African youth, Microsoft is already training 18 interns while one of its partners, Galaxy Backbone is training 50 with an explanation that 75 per cent of them will end up in Microsoft Ecosystem.
Addressing Microsoft’s acquisition of NOKIA, Courtois explained that full possession will take place once every regulatory structure has been put in place.
He also tipped Steven Elop, to head the Devices division once the transaction is completed.
Jean-Phillipe expressed optimism that Microsoft which will expand its cloud services in Nigeria and other markets, will benefit from NOKIA’s mapping system.
Jean-Phillipe who made a stop-over at the Co-Creation Hub described the capacity building as a vibrant place of innovation.
He encouraged the app developers present to take advantage of the new Windows 8 platform to identify real life problems; create functional local applications that have global competitiveness around such and publish same to the Windows Store so they can monetize their innovation and share it with the world.
Meanwhile, Jean-Philippe Courtois leads global sales, marketing, and services for Microsoft International, a territory that spans more than 110 subsidiaries operating outside the United States and Canada.
As president of Microsoft International, Jean-Philippe drives strategic planning, global operations, and key growth initiatives in developed and emerging markets across Europe, Middle East & Africa, Asia and Latin America for all of Microsoft’s products and services.
Courtois previously served as CEO and president of Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), where he led business planning and sales, marketing and services. His many notable accomplishments include significant improvements in customer satisfaction, enhanced regional integration and record sales growth.
Before his role in EMEA, Courtois was Corporate Vice President of worldwide customer marketing, based out of Microsoft’s worldwide headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Courtois joined Microsoft in 1984 as a channel sales representative and, after holding several leadership positions, rose to general manager for Microsoft France in 1994.
Outside of Microsoft, Courtois is administrator for PlaNet Finance. He also serves on the board of directors for AstraZeneca, and is President of the Strategic Committee at Skem Business School. He has served as co-chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Digital Divide Initiative Task Force and on the European Commission Information and Communication Technology task force.
In 2009, he also served as an EU Ambassador for the Year of Creativity and Innovation, and in 2011 he was named one of “Tech’s Top 25” by The Wall Street Journal Europe.