Africa is almost continually touted by major IT vendors as the “next big hope” in a market seemingly handcuffed to low single-digit growth and, while HP differs little in this regard from its major competitors, it is taking a more cautious approach to the continent.

Meg Whitman, CEO of HP, says that Africa is obviously on the company’s agenda, just like other emerging markets, but that it is looking to lay a solid foundation on the continent before making any major moves.

“We understand that Africa and a number of other countries are going to provide big long-term growth,” Whitman says. “And, like other parts of the world [where we have a presence] we want to lay a foundation to be a big player.

“This strategy may not be material over the next two to three years, but it certainly will be over the five to 10 years following that,” she says.

HP’s short-term strategy on the continent is obviously to reap the benefits of the existing channel it has developed in various African countries.

“Our partners play a very important role in these territories because we have very few HP people on the ground,” she says. “Our partners are our very best ambassadors and I can only thank them for what they are doing in Africa.”