Partnering to accelerate innovation in East Africa
Posted by Fernando De Sousa, general manager, Africa Initiatives at Microsoft
Over the last few years, the East African ICT industry has experienced explosive development and has seen the growth of a thriving developer community. It is also home to the renowned ‘iHub’ – an open space made available for technologists, investors, and tech companies in Kenya. One of iHub’s initiatives, m:lab aims to be a leader in identifying, nurturing and helping to build sustainable enterprises in the knowledge economy. I believe that these kinds of inspiring collaborative projects are incredibly effective in kick-starting the momentum needed for emerging local economies to take off and become globally competitive. And that’s why I’m so excited about the announcement we made today at the Innovation Africa Digital Summit in Ethiopia: Microsoft will be collaborating with iHub and m:lab to help fuel African innovation.
Towards a common vision
Self-starters, creative thinkers and entrepreneurs are vital to the progress of developing economies. If you’ve been keeping abreast our activities in Africa, you’ll know how invested we are in supporting developers and aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools and opportunities they need to reach their full potential. Last month, we launched the 4Afrika Initiative, focused on accelerating adoption of smart-devices, empowering small- and medium-sized businesses, and raising skills development to ignite African innovation for the continent and for the world. Our strategic cooperation with iHub and m:lab is a new example of one of the many ways we are going to achieve this.
Our collaboration with iHub and m:lab will see the start-up community benefit from our global BizSpark programme, and see us partner on events, research, and consulting projects. We’ll also be establishing a physical presence at iHub, making Microsoft devices like Windows Phones and Windows slates available for testing application and software. Developers hold the key to bringing our technologies ‘to life’ in Africa by making them locally relevant, and there’s no better way to ensure we are supporting them than by talking to and listening to them in person in the places they like to be.