The ICT Authority and Microsoft have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will, among other things, see Microsoft offer support in providing a platform that will enable ICT skills training for up to 300 000 teachers.
According to the memorandum, proposed areas of training will include proficiency in Microsoft Technologies, Microsoft Teach with Technology courseware and accreditation as Microsoft Certified Educators.
The MOU forms part of the Government of Kenya’s priorities to grow the local knowledge economy. It was signed by Microsoft Kenya Country Manager Kunle Awosika and witnessed by visiting Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Middle East & Africa, Ali Faramawy in the presence of the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Information Communication & Technology (ICT), Mr Joseph Tiampati Ole Musuni.
“Building local ICT capacity forms an important part of our Kenya Vision 2030 and shift from a labour-based to a middle-income, knowledge economy. The ICT Masterplan also recognises that to be a leader in ICT we need to up the skills of our workforce,” says Tiampati. “By collaborating with partners such as Microsoft, we are intent to fast-track the development of local ICT skills, empowering working professionals, providing access to broadband and promoting small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya.”
Additional areas of collaboration underpinned in the MOU include:
– Integrating ICT in teaching and learning
– Developing world-class skills and placing working professionals in jobs
– Bringing SMEs online and encouraging innovation
– Providing reliable, accessible and affordable devices and broadband
“Microsoft has had a presence in Kenya since 1996. Under our 4Afrika Initiative, we have launched a number of projects in innovation, skills and affordable access that are helping to create an enabling environment for the development of ICT skills,” says Faramawy. “Investing in Africa’s skills for both entrepreneurship and employability is key in helping Africans find and create jobs to promote inclusive economic growth and we look forward to working with the ICT Authority on this.”
As part of the MOU, Microsoft also intends to support government officials with ICT policy training, helping them to integrate ICT into their programs.
“We are supporting governments in setting the example of adopting technology to advance economic and social development. Governments that embrace solid ICT policies will be at the forefront of economic development and create favourable investment climates,” adds Faramawy.
During the recently held Connected East Africa Summit, Microsoft launched the Biz4Afrika portal for Kenyan SMEs. The portal, which is a one-stop shop for information resources and business services for SMEs, is designed to enable a sustainable and connected community of entrepreneurs that will have a meaningful impact on job creation, global competitiveness and wealth creation in the long run. In the two weeks that the portal has been live, 1 900 users have visited the site with views topping out at over 12 000 pages. In addition, 125 companies have signed up to the portal as of the 15th of April 2015.
“Initiatives like the Biz4Afrika portal are essential for the development of ICT skills in Kenya to promote entrepreneurship,” says Victor Kyalo, CEO of the ICT Authority of Kenya (ICTA). “Kenya is already Africa’s third largest knowledge economy and the country leads the global mobile economy, with about 40% of the country’s GDP transacting through mobile phones every day. Public-private partnerships like these are what will ensure the momentum and sustainability of this growth, transforming Kenya into a globally competitive digital economy.”