Microsoft has launched a new project designed to improve Africa’s global competitiveness. It’s called the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative and will see Microsoft encouraging smartphone adoption, helping businesses get online and introducing more technology skills to the workplace.
The first step is a new smartphone called the Huawei 4Afrika. This is a Windows Phone 8 device - based on the Huawei Ascend W1 - and will be launched in Angola, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa later this month. There’s a 4-inch display on the device, which is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm chip. Power-saving technology will deliver up to 420 hours of standby time or up to 560 minutes of talk time from the 1730mAh battery. A customised app store will include applications and exclusive content designed by Africans for the African market.
Fernando de Sousa, Microsoft’s general manager of the 4Afrika Initiative, said “The world has recognized the promise of Africa, and Microsoft wants to invest in that promise. 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. 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.”
In addition, Microsoft has started working with the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications and with Kenyan Internet service provider Indigo Telecom on a low-cost, high-speed, wireless broadband project called ‘Mawingu’. There’ll also be an online resource for small businesses and a free education platform called the Afrika Academy.