Microsoft to invest $75-million for African digital access

During the closing keynote of Microsoft’s Partners in Learning Global Forum over the weekend, the technology giant announced that it has started an initiative and partnership called Youth Spark – Spark a Child’s digital future. As part of the agreement between Microsoft, World Vision and the British Counsel, the three companies will implement an investment of $75-million with NGOs to give digital access to kids for the first time throughout developing nations.

Laura Ipsen, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Sector, during the closing keynote of Microsoft’s Partners in Learning Global Forum (image: Charlie Fripp)

Microsoft mentioned that they have already opened over a 100 digital hubs in Africa, where they train people on how to use digital content. While they had a massive reach with the digital hubs, those were done with only $2-million of investment.

The Spark a Child’s Digital Future will start in Kenya, and during the press conference, World Vision’s David Owens said they are finally closing the opportunity gap. “We are very excited about this project. With this, we can put the power of technology into the hands of eager young minds.”

Owens explained that “once a child’s basic needs are met, developing digital skills leads to better jobs. These jobs have a poverty-fighting ripple effect: improved family income, community contribution, and less dependency on services. This is why World Vision, Microsoft, Intel, and British Council are teaming up to improve digital access and education for African students.”

The initiative’s aim is to achieve three key goals, which will see it bringing significant technology advancements to African schools, bringing holistic digital access to classrooms with devices, infrastructure, and teacher training, and improving learning outcomes for students – in academics, life skills, and economic opportunity.

A representative of the British Counsel said Microsoft needs to reach more people. “We need to scale, and only way to do that is by getting other partnerships. We found a huge interest alignment with others to better skills, and it’s all being driven by improving employability.”

The British Counsel added that they will be looking at programmes in other parts of the world, and will have identified many educational opportunities in many other nations.

For more information on the Spark a Child’s Digital Future initiative, visit

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor


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