German software developer SAP AG, one of the world’s leading vendors of business management solutions, announced on Monday that it is focused on expanding its Middle East and North Africa (Mena) regional presence by massively investing a total of Dhs1.65 billion ($450 million) over the coming four years. The investment is basically to up-skill local talent and drive sustainable innovation and growth. The decision highlights Mena region as a fast-growing market and an integral part of the company’s overall business strategy. According to company officials, the investment includes recruiting more than 500 additional employees, opening several new offices and expanding the company’s partner ecosystem and the SAP University Alliances program. Additionally, significant increases will be made in the availability of comprehensive, innovative and localized service offerings. Speaking to The Gulf Today, at the side-line of a well attended press conference in Dubai, Dr Werner Brandt, the CFO and executive board member says it also plans to invest heavily in education to support strategic technology innovation and spur business growth. This, he said is especially necessary in emerging markets, which are enthusiastic adopters of new technologies. He disclosed that SAP Mena will also establish a dedicated ‘Training and Development Institute’ that aims to certify 2,000 new consultants within the next four years. This will triple the company’s existing consulting capabilities in the region and further support the localization of SAP solutions to meet fast-growing regional industry needs, he added. Brandt noted that the Mena market is remarkable in its growth potential, scope and readiness to innovate hence the company is optimistic that this is an opportune time to take its operations ahead and engagement to the next stage. “SAP’s additional investment will enable us to deliver leading-edge innovation, better localisation and more talent to our customers and partners, as well as help develop crucial skills-sets and employment opportunities in the region,” he said. SAP expects to significantly grow its Mena revenues by 2015, building on an impressive double-digit compound growth rate between 2008 and 2011 and establishing the region as one of the company’s top-10 growth markets globally. SAP’s plan to bolster its business across Mena comes at the wake of the company’s best-performed financial year in 2011, with global software revenue increasing 25 per cent at constant currencies to 4 billion euros and IFRS total revenue increasing 14 per cent to EUR 14.2 billion. The exemplary performance is reflected in a recent study by IDC, a leading global IT intelligence and market advisory firm.