Airtel Partners Microsoft, Intel To Promote Rural ICT Empowerment

…Takes Data Awareness Campaign To Lagos, Ogun

By Adebayo Dawodu

In continuation of its initiative aimed at boosting data awareness in rural communities across Nigeria, leading telecoms operator, Airtel Nigeria, has partnered with Microsoft, the world's foremost software company and Intel, one of the largest chip makers in the world to promote ICT empowerment in Lagos and Ogun state.

This collaboration is coming two weeks after the telco flagged off its empowerment and enlightenment campaign dubbed 'Boost ICT Usage in Rural Areas' in Western Nigeria.

According to Airtel, the partnership with the two ICT giants will further enrich the programme and create unique experiences for participants in Lagos and Ogun states, as the two ICT giants will provide digital literacy curriculum content and smart mobile devices through which participants will be able to experience, view and download content using Airtel data.

The Lagos activities took place at Ibowon-Epe, whilst that of Ogun will follow at Osiele Community town hall, along Olu of Osiele's Palace road, Osiele, Abeokuta.

Airtel's Chief Commercial Officer, Maurice Newa, noted that “the programme was initiated to empower consumers in these underserved communities to have first-hand experience of the company's superior data services with no financial implication to the consumers”.

The campaign is designed to empower rural dwellers with basic ICT skills, enabling them to use smartphones, laptops and tablets to surf the World Wide Web and connect with friends and family members via the Internet.

Speaking on the collaboration, Mark Ihimoyan, Director, Consumer Channel Group, Microsoft Nigeria, reiterated the company's commitment to the development of ICT awareness in rural Africa. He said: “At Microsoft, we remain committed to provide Africans with affordable access to devices and services, through both the 4Afrika initiative and our Mobile Devices Division, not just in the urban areas, but also to the previously unreached rural populations.”

According to Intel's Country Manager for Nigeria and West Africa, Mr Olubunmi Ekundare, “the initiative ties back neatly to what we stand for both globally and locally in Nigeria; 'Empowering Nigerians through technology'. However, technology without connectivity is useless to the user. Partnering with Airtel in the ICT ecosystem will help drive a scalable adoption of technology that is aimed at impacting the lives of every Nigerian.”

The ICT awareness programme for Western Nigeria commenced in Iseyin Town in Oyo, Ido-Osi Town in Ekiti and Ipetu-Modu community in Osun State. Thus far, the initiative has crisscrossed several rural communities and interior towns in the South East, South-South and South Delta parts of the country.

Launched on 25th August, the programme has covered communities in Enugu, Imo, Benue, Delta and Edo States one week afterwards. The train subsequently moved to Abia, Rivers, Bayelsa and Cross River States between 3rd and 12th of September.

The Airtel ICT campaign is also expected to hold in communities in Abuja, Nassarawa, Adamawa, Taraba, Kastina, Zamfara, Plateau and Niger States within the month of October.

The initiative highlights Airtel's role as the innovative leader in data services. The Telco currently prides itself as the leading data-centric company with superior 3.75G data network services which can be accessed across the 36 States and Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria.