In the past few years, the role of technology in the development of Africa has been more pronounced than ever before. Mobile and internet penetration are growing steadily year on year with access to more affordable internet and devices.
The startup craze has also hit Africa with many entrepreneurs starting-up everyday. There are multiple tech hubs and innovation/incubation spaces all over the continent. Whether it is Agriculture, governance, Fintech, Education or healthcare, there have been numerous efforts in the past decade to use technology to solve some of the many issues the continent faces.
Technology still remains pivotal to development in Africa. It is only if we can improve and encourage access and use of technology can we see transformation on a more massive scale. Think about how Mobile Money in all it’s simplicity as increased access to banking services and so much more to the unbanked population and that is before we even tap into the full potential of what it can do.
Microsoft 4Afrika believe that 3 pillars are pivotal when it comes to Africa. Access, Skills and Innovation properly harnessed can transform Africa by making people more productive. It’s not just a theory or experiment. They are actually doing it and here’s how.
It all starts with Access. Being able to access relevant and affordable technologies to enhance, exposure, skills growth and competitiveness. Let’s look at mobile Money once again. Having access to cheap low end feature phone still helps you access financial and other services.
The 4Afrika Initiative intends to help provide affordable access to smart devices – Windows devices, including PCs, tablets and phones. Microsoft is also working hard to facilitate access to free, relevant web services for African small and medium enterprises through financing, partnerships and smart sourcing.
Through a project called the ‘Mawingu’ white spaces pilot, The 4Afrika initiative has been able to improve access to the internet across Kenya and beyond.
There are many developers and innovators whose ideas never get to see the light of day for various reasons. Because innovation is crucial, Microsoft wants to help ignite African innovation for the continent and for the world.
The 4Afrika initiative is investing in developers to enable them to get access to the technology, mentorship, connections, and go-to-market support they need to thrive. Build relevant Windows applications and services by Africans for Africa.
Innovation 4Gov is a program designed to harness the power of Cloud and mobile technologies to transform the delivery of public services to citizens and businesses, as well as intra-government operations.
Having the right set of skills can evidently set you apart giving you the necessary tools to design and implement various solutions in response to the problems we usually face in Africa.
World-Class Skills is about Microsoft’s plans to develop a self-sustaining, world-class education platform, both online and offline, to help Africans develop skills for entrepreneurship and improved employability and competitiveness.
Under this pillar, Microsoft has established the Afrika Academy designed to benefit recent higher education graduates and government leaders among others.