Stay Smart About Africa

Skills: Local Is Essential

Every organisation should be putting its money where its people are and bringing up skills alongside opportunities

Footprint Africa Business Solutions (FABS) is committed to working with local talent – imparting knowledge and training local talent to support growth. It’s a company focused on using local skills and organisations to ensure that IT solutions are effectively maintained and managed. It is also a company that pays attention to not only curating skilled individuals and organisations but to providing opportunity.

“Africa is not the poor, forgotten child in the world that needs a handout – we drive the narrative and we have the ability to lead the way both locally and internationally,” says Karien Bornheim, founder and CEO, FABS. “Already there are remarkable solutions that have leaped from Africa into the global marketplace. The challenges we face here are an opportunity to innovate for a change. This is why FABS has a very clear philosophy – we are not just about IT, we are focused on making a difference.”

FABS implements market-leading solutions across Africa. The company works with clients to develop technology platforms and services that fit their existing infrastructure and investment. The technology is vendor-agnostic and customer-specific and the skills locally sourced and managed.

“We leave as much value in the country as possible,” adds Bornheim. “We always involve local people and local companies and we provide them with the training they need to provide first level support. We believe in keeping both money and skills in the country and we try to get as much of the value chain localised as possible. Many companies will come in, do the job and leave, providing only remote support. This has no value for either the customer or the local environment.”

FABS trains customer employees to ensure that they are self-sufficient and can handle first-level challenges or issues. They also train local service providers and suppliers, so they can deliver up to level three support to customers. The skills are left in the country and give the customer confidence in their ability to resolve challenges and manage operations. FABS believes that if the customer is self-sufficient, then they are more confident and engender further skills development.

When asked how partners and vendors have responded to this methodology, Bornheim said: “There are some organisations that see this model as a threat, but most have embraced it and love what it represents. It means less effort for them with more skills they can sell to someone else. None of our partners are prevented from using the skills they learned from us with other customers.”

The goal is to uplift the continent, to allow for partners and customers to grow and build their competitive strengths.

“It’s called capitalism and it is exactly what the continent needs,” concludes Bornheim. “Customers have also responded really well to what we do. They’re used to companies selling them a product and leaving. Now the executive knows that they have practical support on their doorstep and that issues can be readily resolved without lengthy and unnecessary delays. IT should be a solution to a problem, not a new problem waiting to happen. It should also be an opportunity for organisations to commit to local skills development for the benefit of the country, customer and community.”

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