Microsoft 4Afrika has entered into partnership with digital payments company Skrill that will see the launch of a new e-commerce portal, allowing people in Africa to use their mobile wallets to buy from global internet stores.
Announcing the partnership at the ongoing 17th annual AfricaCom conference in South Africa, the new portal is set to go live by December this year.
The partnership will integrate with mobile network operators (MNOs) and will allow customers in Africa to have access to free educational content provided for by the Microsoft 4Afrika initiative, as well as use Microsoft software.
Entrepreneurs across the continent will now be able to use tools from Microsoft to build online businesses with Skrill helping in monetisation and app developers will gain more knowledge through 4Afrika’s virtual academy.
“As part of 4Afrika’s drive towards affordable access, this portal seeks to bring Africa’s offline economies online, enabling the continent to take part in the global digital revolution, which in turn will drive innovation, inclusion and trade,” said Frank McCosker from Microsoft 4Afrika.
The e-commerce portal, once operational will help the unbanked Africans who have no means of paying for global online brands and even the banked who find the challenge of dealing with online merchants who are reluctant to serve them through their credit or debit cards for fear of fraud.
Microsoft, through the new portal, will be providing free 15GB access to its cloud storage OneDrive, as well as Outlook email addresses to allow users register accounts with relevant merchants.
“Africa is urbanising faster than any other continent, with cities enjoying strong levels of wireless and data coverage,” said Nilesh Pandya, SVP emerging markets at Skrill.
“It has the world’s most youthful populations and we know that it is the younger generations that are often first to embrace technology”.
Skrill allows users to make payments instantly, and using their mobile wallets to buy products and services from their global network of merchants including iROKOtv and Spinlet as well as a range gaming providers.