Mark Davison at Oracle OpenWorld, San Francisco – With triple digit growth over the last year on the continent, Africa is proving to be one of Oracle’s more attractive international markets – and it is one that the company intends nurturing in the years to come.
David Callaghan, senior vice-president, EMEA alliances and channels, says that while Oracle’s latest growth figures in Africa may come off a low base, they are still phenomenal in today’s current economic climate. He also recognises that a large part of the company’s success in the various regions is down to its network of business partners.

“The high growth we’ve experienced in Africa is off a low base,” Callaghan says. “And over time, we are confident that strong growth will continue, but that it will inevitably slow as the numbers become bigger. It is still a very attractive market for us, but we need to pace its development – we don’t want to overheat things.”

Callaghan says that the channel has a key role to play for Oracle in Africa.

“Our whole strategy going forward is that we are moving more from a volume approach to a value approach,” he says. “We have more than 25 000 partners worldwide and 50% of these are in EMEA, and we will continue to look for niche partners in areas where we feel we are uncovered – in territories like Africa and other emerging markets like Eastern Europe.

“There are also a number of our partners in Western Europe who are interested in investing more into Africa,” Callaghan adds. “And they are actively looking to form alliances and partnerships with African businesses.”

Callaghan says that in Africa, companies have a major advantage over their more mature counterparts in Western Europe in that they are more forward-facing and less inclined to be tied into any legacy approach. This, he says, has led to a boon for Oracle’s engineered systems such as Exabyte.

“Exabyte in EMEA has done incredibly well and has grown about 68% for partners in terms of units,” he says. “There has been very broad acceptance of our engineered systems, Exabyte in particular, and in Africa quite a number of them are being sold, mainly into greenfield sites.”