By Derek Appiah, Country Manager for Microsoft in Ghana
One of the main reasons I decided to return to Ghana, after living in the UK for 20 years, was the opportunity to work in emerging markets. I love that you can make a big impact quickly in countries like ours, if you just put your heart and mind to it.
As Country Manager, I am excited about how I can contribute to Microsoft’s goals in Ghana, which include developing employability and entrepreneurial skills amongst the youth. The TizaaWorks Employability Platform is one of the projects already launched to help achieve this. If you’re looking to increase your skills or find a job, head over to the portal. It provides everything from career guidance to online courses and even interview preparation tips.
It’s no secret that 65% of Ghanaian youth are unemployed. However, by focusing on developing employability skills in the country I believe we can unlock the significant potential I see in the country’s young people. One of the things I love most about this country is its young and vibrant population. I’ve always noticed that they punch above their weight intellectually – and I’ve done a lot of travelling around the world so I’m saying this with conviction! So, they are the perfect candidates to take Ghana forward - they just need the right skills.
I believe there is enormous potential for technology to change lives globally, and particularly in emerging markets like Ghana. Microsoft can help by using technology to give youth the skills they need to be successful. The whole country will benefit from a better skilled workforce.
Make no mistake, this is not about charity. It’s about creating a value exchange between citizens, industry and government. Companies like Microsoft need to employ people with the right skills, so it makes sense for us to invest in their education. While technology and ICT skills are still generally low in Ghana, more and more companies are starting to see how they stand to benefit from taking a more active role in the training of young people.
I’m particularly proud of our 4Afrika Initiative, which is playing an active role in Africa’s economic competitiveness. It is focused on enabling Africans to turn their ideas into reality with access to the right devices, services, training and mentorship. In Ghana, this initiative has seen us partner with Spectra Wireless to launch Africa’s first commercial service network using TV white spaces. This is an important step because it allows students to buy affordable, high speed internet bundles and devices, giving them access to the internet, which goes a long way in helping them succeed.
As I lead Microsoft in Ghana, you can be assured that the youth here will always be top on my list of priorities. Young people are our biggest asset and I truly believe in the power of technology to help them make an impact.