African Press International (API)

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Africa at large: AU, Microsoft to cooperate in ICT development

Posted by African Press International on May 18, 2008

Publisher Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source: Panafrican News Agency (PANA)

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) – The Africa Union (AU) and Microsoft have agreed to join forces in acceleration of social and economic development in Africa through the use of information and communication technology (ICT).

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed Thursday at ‘ITU Telecom Africa 2008’ conference in Cairo, Egypt, a forum where stakeholders are discussing the expansion of ICT across the region, the AU and Microsoft committed to collaborate in the promotion of ICT for development, capacity building and enhancing technology access. According to a statement released here Friday by the AU Commission, the two parties will work together to respond to the region’s evolving development needs and foster the creation of regional, scalable technology solutions.

The partners will identify where ICT can be applied to accelerate Africa’s economic growth through capacity building and by enhancing technology access, in particular for youth and rural populations. “Technology plays a critical role in driving competitiveness in today’s global economy,” said Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure. “We welcome Microsoft’s commitment and contribution in providing technology expertise and know-how to foster increased access to technology and bringing the related benefits to all regions in Africa.”

Microsoft will support the AU through technology and innovative solutions, access to technology and skills training, and policy and advocacy support, supporting shared economic reform and private sector development goals. “We welcome the formalisation of our partnership with the AU, as we believe there is no better partner to identify where ICT can be applied in innovative ways to accelerate development across the continent,” said Cheick Modibo Diarra, Microsoft chairman for Africa.

“By extending the scale and impact of solutions developed in Africa by African stakeholders, we aim to transform education, drive local innovation and foster jobs and opportunities,” he added. This partnership will build upon work already in place, including support for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) e-schools and e-parliament programmes, existing Microsoft Innovations Centres and a network of over 1,000 Community Technology Centres.

The network, established in partnership with non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations as well as local partners, provides over 200,000 youth, women and entrepreneurs with access to technology, information and communication.

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The Publisher Korir, is the Chief Editor African Press International API

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