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Microsoft plans to spend $12b for SMEs in Nigeria

By The Citizen
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Microsoft Corporation, has unveiled plans to spend $12 billion on a special package for Nigeria and other African markets in the next three years.

The package is expected to be designed specially for the markets in the continent in order to empower youths and provide a lifeline for one million Small and Medium Enterprises.

To this end, Microsoft has launched its Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative to aid the attainment of the set objectives, and to help the continent's businesses boost their global competitiveness.

Country Manager, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, Emmanuel Onyeje, who disclosed this in Lagos on Tuesday while launching the initiative with the theme: 'Improving competitiveness through economic development', said to make this happen, the firm has launched Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, through which it will actively engage in Africa's economic development and to improve its global competitiveness.

Onyeje, said the firm will now accelerate the adoption of smart devices, empowering small and medium businesses, and intensify skills development to ignite African innovation for the continent and for the world.

According to him, by 2016, Microsoft projects to help place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of African youths, bring one million African Small 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 per cent of which Microsoft will help place in jobs.

'Microsoft wants to invest in that promise which recognises Africa's promise. We want to empower African youths, entrepreneurs, developers and business and civic leaders to turn great ideas into reality that can help community, their country, the continent and beyond.

'The initiative is built on the dual beliefs that technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world', he stated.

Onyeje, who said the United States of America-based company was motivated to embark on the projects as part of its contributions to Africa's transformation initiatives, announced that Microsoft has developed a new online hub through which Africa SMEs will freely have access to relevant products and services from Microsoft and other partners.

'The hub will aggregate the available services which can help them expand their business locally, find new business opportunities outside their immediate geography and help increase their overall competitiveness,' he added.

To encourage would be beneficiaries, the Microsoft Country Manager said the company will provide free domain registration for the period of one year and free tools for qualifying SMEs interested in creating a professional web presence.

According to him, as a first step towards the adoption of smart devices, Microsoft has partnered with Huawei to introduce the Huawei 4Afrika, a full functional Windows Phone 8, which will come, pre-loaded with select applications designed for Africa.