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Zoho centres Africa ambitions on ‘transnational localism’

By , Portals editor
Africa , South Africa , 02 Dec 2021

Global business software company Zoho, which recently announced the opening of its South African office – its flagship office in Africa, is looking to cement its presence and product distribution in key regions including Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

Hyther Nizam, President, MEA at Zoho Corp. said the company has hired staff in these key regions, including for customer-facing roles, and remains focused on forging partnerships “to help local businesses in their digital transformation journey.”

The company projects growth rates of 33% in Kenya and 68.3% in Nigeria.

When it comes to ‘transitional localism’ in the broader Africa context, Nizam explained that Zoho's growth efforts for the next five-to-ten years will be centred around this vision, i.e., closely working with and serving the local communities around the world, while staying globally connected through shared knowledge, capabilities, and culture.

“The company will support regional economies to become self-reliant through opening offices in rural or non-urban areas, local hiring, partnerships, investments in local business communities, and adopting the local culture. This includes supporting start-up programmes, building community and developer ecosystems, and taking Zoho Schools of Learning to regional markets.”

Zoho Schools of Learning is an initiative by Zoho wherein students who have completed school are trained for 18 months, and those who complete the training join Zoho as employees.

“ZSL was started as a social experiment in 2005 as a meaningful alternative to conventional colleges in order to help bridge the growing gap between industry expectations and the skills of college graduates. ZSL graduates make up 10% of Zoho's total employee workforce today,” Nizam added.

Zoho, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has had a presence in South Africa since 2019 when it hosted its first Zoholics. In 2020, the company grew by more than 50% in the region in revenue.

In November the company announced its South African office on the sidelines of its annual user conference, Zoholics: South Africa.

At the time Nizam said, “Zoho strongly believes in its growth being closely tied with the growth and development of the broader community that it serves, a strategy that we refer to as 'transnational localism'. As part of this vision, we're focused on contributing to the creation of self-sufficient economic clusters across the world. Our new Cape Town office adds to this effort and will help us effectively scale our ongoing initiatives in South Africa such as local hiring and upskilling, and also be closer to our customers. We build from experience, and having already conducted successful skill-building programmes in other countries like India and UAE, we're looking forward to growing these initiatives in South Africa, especially because there is tremendous youth potential here.”

Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager for Africa at Zoho Corp., reiterated the company's stance: “We are looking to work closely with more local technology solution providers in order to grow the number of re-sellers and implementation partners in the country, while also hiring for customer-facing roles in order to service the high demand for Zoho's products  ... We are also looking out for partners for scaling our skill-building initiatives. South Africa is Zoho's key market in Africa, and we will continue to invest in the country.”

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