Vodacom targets SMEs space in Nigeria

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By Gugu Lourie

Vodacom Business Africa is looking for opportunities in adjacent markets in Nigeria – Africa’s biggest economy and most populous country.

It is targeting small companies with growth potential.

Vodacom Business chief officer Vuyani Jarana said the cellphone giant was looking at how to address the small medium enterprises (SMEs) market in Nigeria.

“SMEs means scale, a lot of automation, network that has a right capacity, quality, right price points,” said Jarana in an

Vodacom Business chief officer Vuyani Jarana
Vodacom Business chief officer Vuyani Jarana

exclusive interview with TechFinancials.co.za.

“That’s what we are currently looking at, how you break into the SMEs market in Nigeria. You need to find the right model. The right network architecture and technology.

“If you don’t get that combination right, you may not be able to serve them. So, that’s what at the top of our mind with Nigeria.”

The enterprise arm of Vodacom, a cellphone operator owned by British mobile giant Vodafone, is already providing services to the local corporates in Nigeria and other multinationals.

It entered the Nigerian market through the acquisition of Gateway Communications in 2008, which provided it with a bigger enterprise market footprint in Africa.

Vodacom Business is not discounting any possibility of working with third parties to service the Nigerian SMEs space.

Jarana said: “There are a number of guys servicing the SMEs with LTE (Long-Term Evolution connectivity that provides the fastest wireless Internet connection), which we can team-up with, especially if our focus is on delivering IT services.”

The SMEs market is a very important part of the Nigerian economy, according to the Financial System Strategy (FSS) 2020.

“In light of recent events in the Nigerian macroeconomic environment, SMEs have compelling growth potential and like other emerging economies are likely to constitute a significant portion of Gross Domestic Product in the near future,” says FSS.

About the Nigerian SMEs market, Jarana said: “We think there is a hybrid model to tie in an agreement with a third party, while you still thinking how best to serve that market. So, there are still a few things up our sleeves. We are exploring for growth in Nigeria.”

The firm is also delivering IT services to the oil and gas industry as well as the verticals sectors in Nigeria.

In 2013, Vodacom Business partnered with Jagal Group to build a data centre in Nigeria.

Vodacom designed the data centre, but didn’t invest any money except to underpin the business case by being the anchor tenant.

This has enabled Vodacom Business to provide full ICT services in Nigeria for the enterprise market and has allowed it to offer hosting and cloud services, through its Ikeji data centre.

“We are accelerating IT services into the enterprise market,” said Jarana.

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