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Microsoft targets 200,000 Africans in knowledge gap project

By Standard Digital Reporter | March 26th 2014
By Standard Digital Reporter | March 26th 2014
Prisca Odera -a beneficiary of Microsoft Knowledge gap program- runs an gricultural information center, Sulwe Limited

By Standard Digital Reporter

NAIROBI, KENYA: Microsoft is targeting 200,000 Africans in bridging knowledge gap among professional in the continent.

The organization said it has made a commitment to up skills of 200,000 Africans by 2016 of which 100,000 will be from the existing workforce and 100,000 recent graduates, 75 per cent of which the company will help place in jobs.

The company said that what it consistently gets from its partners is that there is a real skills gap in Africa – simply not enough people to hire with the skills needed to meet 21st century business demands.

This includes ICT skills, of course, but it’s more than just that. It also includes sales, marketing and leadership skills.

“By focusing skills on entrepreneurship and employability, through programmes such as MySkills4Afrika under Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, we are working towards developing Africa’s business climate that enable people to compete and reach their full potential,” said Kunle Awosika, Country Manager Microsoft.

One of the participants on the MySkills4Africa training program, Prisca Odera who runs an agriculture information center, Sulwe Limited, based in Kisumu says she got a chance to learn some soft skills on project management under the instruction of Martina Hennessy, Microsoft Senior Project Manager from Redmond, at the iHub innovation space and Microsoft office in Nairobi.

Hennessy is among the 50 volunteers from 17 countries around the world who signed in on the first bunch of the programme in February 2014 to transfer vital skills and perspectives that will enable Africans grow, innovate and compete globally.

“Microsoft incorporates a lot of small and medium sized enterprises activities through various capacity building programs that fit into this small business models. This is unique for the organization because not all blue chip companies have such packages for SMEs”, says Odera.

Odera says the current undergoing training is important to her as an entrepreneur; MySkills4Afrika equipped her with skills that will help further propels and run her Agribusiness Company.

The business, which concentrates on collecting agricultural information for instance marketing structures and best farming practices, then consolidating all these information into one platform that can be accessed by farmers.

Odera realized there is an information access gap among farmers in Kisumu and she thought of developing a platform that can be used to disseminate information to them in different platforms i.e. through the Internet, mobile or print materials.

She is in talks with the Microsoft team for a partnership to fuel her journey of empowering the local farming community in Kisumu, and then transform them into smart farmers.

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