Microsoft has today, 18th Feb 2014, introduced the first 4 youth members to the 4Afrika Advisory Council to ensure the critical voices of Africa’s large youth demographic are heard.
The Microsoft 4Afrika Advisory Council, announced in October 2013, is an external board of advisers tasked with guiding strategic investments undertaken by the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative. Microsoft 4Afrika was launched at the beginning of 2013 to facilitate Microsoft’s active engagement in Africa’s economic development.
These chosen 4 youth ambassadors will work towards representing the issues facing Africa’s rural and urban youth, including unemployment, education and access to technology.
“The information and communications technology (ICT) field is not only redefining how we conduct our major businesses on the continent, it is increasingly improving the efficiency of critical support services, such as education, health, and disaster mitigation and management. The young demographic is playing a big role in integrating new solutions to these services, and this has helped create new industries and employment opportunities,” said H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, Chairman of the Microsoft 4Afrika Advisory Council.
“The Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative will be critical in defining a framework that other global and indigenous organizations in the ICT space can adopt to leverage this emerging space and promote economic development in Africa. We are excited about the induction of the new 4Afrika Advisory Council youth members because it helps the initiative stay true to the spirit of youth, enterprise and innovation.”
These unveiled 4Afrika Advisory Council youth members are:
- Akaliza Keza Gara from Rwanda who is an entrepreneur. She is the founder of multimedia company Shaking Sun, and a mentor at kLab, an open tech hub, in Kigali Rwanda. She is also a member of Girls in ICT in Rwanda and is currently working on setting up an animation studio to create cartoons and films for African children.
- Chude Jideonwo from Nigeria is an award-winning journalist, media entrepreneur and youth development expert. He is the co-founder and managing partner of RED Media Africa, an innovative media company in Nigeria. He also founded Enough Is Enough Nigeria; one of Nigeria’s foremost civic groups, and has been awarded several accolades, including being selected by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper.
- Tayeb Sbihi from Morocco was also chosen. He is a Moroccan entrepreneur with a BsC and McS in Science and an MBA. He has 10 years in professional experience in multinational companies specializing in new technologies and has a wide knowledge of the telecoms market. He is the founder of B2N Consulting, which offers a wide range of telecom services and solutions to Morocco and the greater African region.
- Olivia Mukam from Cameroon was also chosen. She is a social activist and entrepreneur and has participated in social projects like helping solve the problem of waterborne diseases in West Cameroon by giving 5,000 villagers access to clean water when she was a student. She then founded the NGO, Harambe Cameroon to engage Cameroonian youth to be national problem solvers. Thousands of youth were trained with business skills, and the for-profit business that Mukam co-founded, Solutioneurs SARL (LLC), taps into the Harambe database of skills to deliver affordable solutions to small businesses in Cameroon, Nigeria, the U.K and the U.S. Read her blog here.
Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative is designed to help Africa improve its global competitiveness and, in just under a year, has successfully launched programs across the continent. The programme also features a scholarship opportunity.
Those programs are expected to help the initiative reach its 2016 goal which are:
- to place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of African youth
- bring 1 million African small and medium-sized enterprises online
- up-skill 100,000 members of Africa’s workforce
- and help 100,000 recent graduates develop skills for employability. Microsoft will help place 75 percent of those graduates in good jobs.