Many startups in Africa with great idea for app simply don’t have the development time or resources to get it built. To help bridge this gap, Microsoft through the 4Afrika launched a number of programmes to help developers create and monetise their applications, and gain experience.
One of such programmes is Apprenticeship Factories (AppFactories). In Nigeria, 4Afrika is investing in skills. Already, the Initiative launched in 2013 has set up two AppFactories – in Nigeria, in partnership with local partners Lotus Beta Analytics and Sidmach Technologies Limited.
The AppFactory equips ICT graduates with in-demand skills and experience in designing and deploying modern software solutions, turning them into highly sought after software engineers.
There are currently 16 AppFactories across the continent – including in Ghana, Egypt, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia and Mauritius – which have secured full-time employment for 85% of its graduates.
The Interns4Afrika programme is also securing jobs for youth in Nigeria. Graduates are working in high ICT intensity jobs with local partners, including Wragby, Riby, Snapnet and Reliance Infosystems – with 85% of them being retained.
Investing in public-private partnerships
The 4Afrika Open4Business programme recently launched in Nigeria, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI). MITI is working with Microsoft to digitally transform the delivery of services to Nigeria’s investor community.
MITI are vested in reducing the complexity, time and cost of complying with business governance and regulations, creating a more agile and investment-friendly environment and accelerating the pace of job creation.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) have also formed strategic partnerships with 4Afrika, to develop access, innovation and skills in its member states. 4Afrika works closely with these two organisations, empowering them to create policies and regulations that promote ICT growth.
“These are the kind of innovations that will let us leapfrog old infrastructure concerns and accelerate digital transformation,” says Microsoft Nigeria Country Manager, Akin Banuso, during interactions with the media recently.
“Our approach through 4Afrika has been one of empowerment and collaboration,” adds Regional Director, Amrote Abdella. “We are empowering Africans to shape Africa’s future, by enabling people to get online, start businesses and thrive. It’s a people-centric approach, which recognises the local insight and innovative thinking of the individuals we work with here – rather than coming in with ‘global north’ mind-set.”
Since launch in 2013, the Initiative has established 15 TV white spaces connectivity projects in six African countries, reached 1.7 million SMEs, brought 500,000 SMEs online, trained over half a million Africans and supported hundreds of local start-ups, enabling them to secure $5.1 million in reciprocal funding.