Microsoft, the global software giant has announced plans to commit about N12 billion to the African market as part of its initiative to help improve the continent’s global competitiveness.
The plan was announced at the launch of the Microsoft 4Africa initiative Tuesday in Lagos. The event also follows the introduction of Huawei low-cost Windows Phone 8 device in seven African markets including Nigeria .
The phone will initially be available in Angola, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa later this month.
The low-cost Windows Phone 8 device powered by Microsoft is expected to drive smartphone penetration on the continent.
The launch forms part of Microsoft’s wider 4Afrika initiative, a new effort through which the company will actively engage in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness.
As a first critical step toward increasing the adoption of smart devices, Microsoft and Huawei introduced the Huawei 4Afrika , a full functionality Windows Phone 8 which will come pre-loaded with select applications designed for Africa.
The Huawei 4Afrika phone, which is the first in what will be a series of smart devices designed “4Afrika,” will be targeted toward university students, developers and first-time smart phone users to ensure they have affordable access to best-in-class technology to enable them to connect, collaborate, and access markets and opportunities online.
By 2016, the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative plans to help place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of African youth, bring 1 million African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) online, up-skill 100,000 members of Africa’s existing workforce, and help an additional 100,000 recent graduates develop skills for employability, 75 percent of which Microsoft will help place in jobs.
Speaking to IT Journalists during the introduction of the initiative, Onyeje, General Manager, Microsoft Nigeria said with optimism that the capacity building project would help youths to be globally competitive.
“It is a model for job creation. It is all about making Africa globally competitive. We want to create skills. We want to create innovation.