Posted by Ali Faramawy
VP Middle East and Africa, Microsoft
When Microsoft opened its first office in Africa in 1992, computers were a rarity and the majority of users either worked in multinational companies or at very senior government levels. Since then, we’ve seen IT play a crucial role in transforming Africa and its impact can now be seen at every level of society by empowering governments, businesses and people throughout the continent.
Throughout the last 18 years, Microsoft has become increasingly more active in contributing to Africa’s IT journey. Today, we have 600 full-time staff and developed over 17,000 partners from Alexandria to Cape Town. We have been working with our partners on the ground and listening to the voice of the local people in order to encourage their own remarkable entrepreneurial spirit towards the potential for ICT to transform society for future generations to come.
Today I’d like to invite you to participate in the next step of our commitment to Africa’s development journey by introducing the launch of a dedicated Africa portal. It will serve as an active communication forum to highlight the immense impact ICT is having on Africa and its people. Built on the success of “Microsoft on the Issues” launched by our colleagues in Seattle last year as well as the growth of the African blogging community, the “Microsoft On the Issues: Africa” blog will showcase the work that Microsoft and its partners are doing to help the continent thrive and grow. It will serve as a forum to discuss how we can best harness African innovation to help the continent advance to the next stage of development. This platform should also strengthen participation in wider discussions that support policy formulation to encourage an environment that welcomes the benefits of ICT.
I’m truly looking forward to the launch of this portal as a platform for discussion and an open forum for debate. It is a place for ideas and experiences to be shared with one another with the aim of promoting even better solutions to help accelerate Africa’s development journey. I strongly encourage you to share your own valuable experiences and unique perspectives by adding comments to the various posts and articles that will appear over the coming months.
To officially launch the blog, I would like to welcome our African chairman, Cheick Diarra, who will be discussing how successful partnerships are driving ICT in Africa. I hope that you will take the time to read and reflect on his valuable insights. Thank you in advance for your support and input and I look forward to reading your own thoughtful comments on our new “Microsoft On the Issues: Africa” blog.