Dawn of a new age: Microsoft’s Samer Abu-Latif

Arabian business: Samer Abu-Ltaif, Microsoft’s Middle East and Africa president, talks about Microsoft’s impact on regional economies, and its work in helping prepare the young ambitious tech people for the future. For most companies in the region success is measured by metrics of profits and revenues. But not for Microsoft.

As Samer Abu-Latif tells it, Microsoft measures its success in a much bigger way: by its impact on regional economies and how much jobs it can create for the tech-savvy and ambitious population.

From Arabian business interview in Microsoft Dubai office in media city, Abu-Latif says that, in his view, the company has three main” pillars” to its strategy in middle east and Africa.

“First pillar is reshaping the education. It is very critical to empower the youth in the region” he says “when you look at the middle east where 60 percent of its population is under the age of 25. Upscaling the workforce towards digitization is crucial.”

“Second pillar is the acceleration of “digital transformation”, which in turn will increase the competitiveness of countries in the region.

Third pillar as Samer Abu-Latif puts it, that Microsoft has a ken eye on philanthropy and corporate social responsibility, but in a unique form that uses “technology as a force for good”

A difficult – but promising – digital road

While optimistic, Abu-Ltaif readily admits that these lofty goals are not without immense challenges. When it comes to digitization, for example, he oversees a vast region in which countries are often at vastly different levels of technological advancement and sophistication.

“When we talk about diversity, it’s also the levels of sophistication, the affordability levels in different markets and their maturity in terms of their ability to embrace new technologies,” he says. “But, across the board, I would say the passion for embracing and adopting technology is remarkable… in such a young region, there is a strong appetite for technology. But then there are realities to it.”

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