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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Microsoft bumps up African growth with new leadership appointments

Microsoft said the new appointments are an important milestone in the company’s ongoing effort to drive impact in Africa.

In an effort to deepening its commitment to accelerating customer transformation in Africa, tech giant Microsoft has appointed Lillian Barnard as the president of Microsoft Africa. This appointment will help to unlock opportunities for African organisations by providing them with the technology they need to elevate and expand their businesses.

Kalane Rampai will succeed Barnard as managing director of South Africa, helping to strengthen the country’s role as a key contributor to Africa’s growth through broad-scale digital innovation.

New appointments

Microsoft said the new appointments are an important milestone in the company’s ongoing effort to drive impact in Africa.

“More than 4 million young people across Africa have been upskilled over the past five years through various skilling and employability programmes, with a further commitment from Microsoft to train and certify at least 1 million women across Africa by June 2025.”

In 2019, the company opened its first Africa Development Centre in Kenya and Nigeria to nurture world-class African tech talent by providing a platform for engineers to create solutions for local and global impact. 


Microsoft added that Barnard is well-placed to head the company’s involvement in the continent’s broad- scale transformation and will draw on her more than 25 years of experience in the ICT industry.

“She has held leadership positions locally and abroad at companies such as IBM and Vodacom before her appointment as managing director of Microsoft South Africa in 2019.”

Barnard said she is “deeply passionate about unlocking the potential for growth using technology to deliver real impact for businesses, communities and economies across the continent.”

Digital future

Commenting on the appointment of Barnard and Rampai, Samer Abu-Ltaif, Microsoft corporate VP & president for Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa, said: “Microsoft is fully committed to Africa’s digital future. For decades, we have worked tirelessly with governments and organisations across the continent to unlock opportunities for growth and innovation, and the appointments of Barnard and Kalane represent a significant milestone in this journey.”

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Rampai has more than 20 years’ experience in management consulting, with extensive industry experience and a proven track record in helping customers transform their businesses, creating sustainable change and stimulating innovation to create a competitive advantage.

Rampai said he is excited to step into his new role.

“I look forward to advancing the competitiveness of customers and businesses of all sizes and across industries in South Africa and the broader continent,” he said.

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