Microsoft4Afrika is a new initiative that will increase global competitiveness in Africa in the coming years by cultivating an untapped market: human capital. Aimed at students, developers, civic leaders, and small businesses across the continent, this multi-faceted initiative will focus on technology, education, entrepreneurship, and universal internet access.
By 2016, Microsoft will distribute tens of millions of smart phones loaded with Windows products and specific appropriate applications to students, developers, and new users to ensure they have affordable access to the best tools, technologies, and resources.
They will also get one million small and medium-sized businesses online to help increase their visibility, expand their services, increase production, build professional websites, and connect with potential customers. Microsoft’s education component, Afrika Academy, will train 200,000 Africans both online and in-person, focusing on technical skills, business skills, entrepreneurship, capacity-building, and increasing employability. The company also intends to help with job placement for approximately 75% of these trainees.
Finally, Microsoft has committed to bring universal internet access to the continent beginning with a pilot program in Kenya in cooperation with the Ministry of Information and Communications. It would use solar-powered base stations and cutting-edge television white space technology that can deliver high-speed broadband internet to areas currently without electricity. If this pilot proves feasible, Microsoft will work with and encourage other governments to expand the program.
– Jordan N. Hunt
Source: Business Fights Poverty, Forbes