Standard Bank and Microsoft have announced a new partnership. Given that the pair have been working together for the past 30 years, a partnership would not normally strike us as pressing news, but it was the deepening of the companies’ collaborative efforts that gets our attention in this case and the forming of the African Digital Foundry in particular.
As the pair explain it, the African Digital Foundry will see both Standard Bank and Microsoft co-create and execute joint go-to-market digital services related to trade, payment, and risk-based (lending and insurance) solutions. They are also aiming to develop ecosystems to enable digital trading to facilitate growth on the continent.
“The Foundry is a digital initiative established in Africa, for Africans, to address the unique challenges the continent faces with customised innovations, services and solutions,” noted Standard Bank Group chief executive, Sim Tshabalala. “The partnership will further enhance and create ongoing collaboration between our firms around co-engineering solutions for African consumers’ unique needs,” he added.
The other key aspect of this partnership announcement will see the pair bring together their resources knowledge to focus on youth and SMEs.
In terms of the former, they plan to create access to relevant digital skills needed to secure future-ready jobs , while the latter will receive skills development in order to take advantage of the growing shift to digital technologies.
“Continuing to build on the partnership is part of the ongoing journey that Standard Bank and Microsoft are on to invest in digital transformation as the enabler of meaningful and tangible innovation. Our journey is underpinned by collaborative efforts to develop, scale and roll-out digital solutions that will deliver personalised services to 100 million Africans and by meeting their unique and evolving needs and demands,” concluded Tshabalala.
The goal of reaching 100 million customers in Africa is set for the next five years, according to the companies. Given their scale and resources, here’s hoping they can indeed reach the goal within the timeframe.