Through the 4Afrika Initiative Microsoft is planning to assist in equipping the African youth with tens of millions of smart phones and devices by 2016.
The initiative also seeks to put one million small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa online and assist with an additional 100,000 recently graduated people to develop employability skills.
“The world has recognised the promise of Africa and Microsoft wants to invest in that promise,” said Fernando de Sousa, General Manager for the 4Afrika Initiative.
“We want to empower African youth, entrepreneurs, developers, and business and civic leaders to turn great ideas into a reality that can help their community, their country, the continent and beyond.”
Microsoft will help place 75 percent of the 100,000 graduates in jobs while also helping to upskill 100,000 people in Africa’s existing workforce.
de Sousa added: “The 4Afrika Initiative is built on the dual beliefs that technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world.”
Microsoft and Huawei, part of the initiative to increase the adoption of smart devices, will be introducing the full-functionality Huawei 4Afrika Windows 8 phone. The phone will first be available this month in Angola, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa, but is finalising this with the appropriate operators.
The Huawei 4Afrika phone is the first of a series of smart devices designed specifically for Africa. The mobile phone is targeted at developers, university students and first time smartphone users to ensure “they have affordable access to best-in-class technology to enable them to connect, collaborate and access markets and opportunities online”.
The 4Afrika Initiative will be reportedly connected to Microsoft’s network of approximately 10,000 existing partners, which Microsoft said it has built over a period of more than 20 years through investments and operations on the continent.