BT is to increase its focus on Africa, as part of a new drive into the economies of Asia Pacific, Turkey, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) – a combined market valued at more than GBP32-billion.

BT Global Services CEO Luis Alvarez says he region will benefit from the group’s $600-million global services investments around the globe.

Kevin Taylor, president: Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa and global logistics, says: “We have a simple, clear and ambitious plan for growth – designed to bring growth to our growth markets.”

He says BT has committed to invest in new people, with more than 400 staff members to be brought into the region. This number will include 300 people directly deployed into the emerging markets.

There will also be 50 new industry experts, focusing on healthcare, logistics, consumer packaged goods and financial services; and 60 new professional services people.

“New expansion will take place in sub-Saharan Africa, with Kenya and Ghana on the map for new expansion,” Taylor says

“We will extend our coverage into South Africa, among other countries. BT will improve its infrastructure in the region, as well as a new satellite hub in South Africa.”

An integrated core portfolio is on the cards, with offerings in security, cloud, mobility services, unified communications and contact centres.

In addition, BT is planning to offer five new industry solutions such as health analytics, point of sale and trace solutions.

The service experience is core to BT’s offering, and it will deliver field services across eight countries, including South Africa, and will provide 24×7 incident management capability for the region.

BT’s market is shifting, driven by changing customer trends. BT expects its business to shortly consist of 57% emerging multinational companies, and global multinationals dropping from 47% to 17% of its global business. Targeted domestic companies will account for another 26%, compared to just 6% today.

Taylor points out that the Asia Pacific, Turkey, Middle East and Africa is shaping up to the a new super-region for trade.

“Over the last 10 years bi-lateral trade has been growing within this region,” he says. “Chinese businesses and government have invested in 49 out of 55 African countries; and trade between UAE and China has grown by 40%.”

In addition, this region will account for about 75% of the world’s population by 2025, and will generate about 47& of global GDP growth. Within the next 10 years, 3-billion people within the region will enter the middle class.

Gavin Patterson, CEO of the BT Group, explains that the new investments in emerging markets fit in with the group’s overall growth strategy.

He says that the last 12 years have seen the group undergo a period of rehabilitation, a move to data business and a transformation to create a better business including cost transformation and investments setting the platform for the future.

Going forward, Patterson says the group will continue with cost transformation, improve customer service and deliver on its investments

He says there are five pillars that will drive a return to revenue growth for the group: fibre, TV and port; IT services; mobility; and high-growth regions.

The group’s financial goals are to drive profitable revenue growth, grow EBIDTA and grow free cash flow. With the cash generated, BT will continue to invest in the business, reduce net debt, support the pension fund and continue to pay a progressive dividend.

Patterson says the latest financial results show encouraging signs that the strategy is starting to work. “The strategy is working and we will continue to invest.”

He adds that about 50% of BT’s revenues are currently outside the UK. “We would expect that to increase. I think there are good growth opportunities in the UK, but they will probably be stronger outside the UK.”