A lack of timely and credible investment information is hindering investors from entering African markets, according to Microsoft; an issue the company hopes to solve through its Africa Open 4 Business initiative.
Speaking at the Connected East Africa conference held in Diani, Kenya, Amr Kamel, enterprise and partner group director for Microsoft in Sub-Saharan Africa said African countries are working hard to improve ease of doing business across the continent, however, news of improvements is not reaching investors, and as such they remain reticent to enter African markets.
Pointing to a recent World Bank Group report, which finds that over the year between mid-2013 and mid-2014 70 per cent of African countries implemented at least one reform aimed at improving the ease of doing business, Kamel said it is clear African countries have the “will” to improve the continent’s business environment.
“We have the political will to improve ease of doing business, but we need to put in place the systems to accelerate that process,” Kamel said.
“There are many synergies across Africa. ICT can really help to accelerate those synergies for the good of our peoples,” he said.
Kamel announced Microsoft is working on a way of leveraging ICT to improve Africa’s reputation among investors, by creating an online database of information surrounding each country’s investment and business ecosystem- an initiative called Africa Open 4 Business.
“The ultimate outcome is an automated, streamlined system for investment information,” he said.
According to Kamel, a lack of “timely, credible investment information” is hindering investors from entering African markets – a gap in the ecosystem which the Africa Open 4 Business initiative hopes to fill.
“The objective of Open 4 Business is to foster an investor-friendly environment on the continent, and highlight that Africa really is open for business,” Kamel said.
The project is currently being piloted in Egypt; but Kamel called for partners to come forward, saying Microsoft is willing to roll-out the pilot-scheme to new markets where there is demand.