6 February 2013

Nigeria: Microsoft Nigeria to Invest N12 Billion On SMEs, Smart Devices

Leading software developer Microsoft, has unveiled plans to aid the acceleration of the adoption of smart devices and empowering small and medium businesses (SME) in Nigeria with an investment of N12 billion across the African continent.

This was disclosed at a media briefing yesterday in Lagos, shortly after the launch of Microsoft 4Afrika initiative programme.

According to the company, by 2016, the Microsoft 4Afrika initiative plans to help, place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of African youth, connect one million African 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.

Emmanuel Onyeje, General Manager, Microsoft Nigeria said that "the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative is built on the dual beliefs that technology can accelerate growth for Africa and Africa can also accelerate technology of the world." He pointed out that the Microsoft 4afrika initiative was not a corporate social responsibility programme but a commercial and economic driven idea.

He revealed that Microsoft was not on the project alone as they have other partners like Huawei and Nokia. According to him, Microsoft is working to make the devices available in Nigeria by the end of February and March, across Africa.

Both companies' launch of a low-cost Windows Phone 8 device in seven African markets this quarter as part of a partnership with Microsoft to drive up smartphone penetration on the continent. The Huawei '4Afrika' smartphone will be available in Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Angola, Morocco and South Africa "towards the later part" of Q1. It is expected to retail at around $150.

The device is a customised version of the Chinese vendor's Ascend W1 smartphone launched at CES. It sports a 4-inch 480×800 display, dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor, front and rear-facing cameras, and 4GB of internal storage. It also features customised store offering apps and content "built and designed by Africans for Africans."

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