Microsoft4Afrika: Empowering African Economies
Emerging markets in Africa have been identified as game changing opportunities for organizations that are willing to invest in them. Microsoft is making this investment through the Microsoft4Afrika initiative, which seeks to move their business and the continent forward in three key areas – Access, World Class Skills and Innovation.
Emerging World has been playing a key role in supporting the company with its work in World Class Skills through the design, development and delivery of three key programs: MySkills4Afrika, the Microsoft Virtual Academy 4Afrika and the Human Capital Development Initiative.
MySkills4Afrika is a skills-based international corporate volunteering program that enables Microsoft employees from all over the world to develop their global leadership skills whilst volunteering their time, talent and expertise to help build a successful and dynamic future for Africa. MySkills4Afrika assignments support a broad cross section of individuals and organizations across the African continent including start-ups, small businesses, schools, universities, government agencies and individuals including students, graduates, and job seekers.
Emerging World worked with the Microsoft4Afrika team to design MySkills4Afrika and developed systems, procedures and training to enable local staff to run the program. The Emerging World team now focus on supporting specific areas that further enhance the program such as learning and development and impact evaluation. The development of the MySkills4Afrika program demonstrates how companies can use employee volunteering to address core business issues.
The Microsoft Virtual Academy 4Afrika delivers online courses, streamed in real-time, from established industry experts across the continent. Technology and business courses are available, designed in Africa, for an African audience, to meet individual needs and organizational goals. An integrated learner dashboard tracks progress against predefined learning paths or individually created curriculum plans while online assessments give feedback on learning progress. This innovative approach to learning enables individuals in Africa to consume high quality content anytime, anywhere, building expertise in a way that suits their lifestyles. Emerging World led the migration of the Microsoft Virtual Academy concept, enabling the program to be delivered from Africa for Africans. The fact that the program is delivered from Africa enables the program to be responsive to business needs across this diverse continent.
The Human Capital development Initiative (HCDI) was initiated by Microsoft as a way to scale up the impact of the investments that corporations are making in African talent. It is well understood that Africa has much potential for greater prosperity but there is a need to provide employment opportunities as well as provide young people with the job skills and life skills to help them become employable and entrepreneurial at scale. Emerging World have convened a group of companies to work together to scale-up their collective efforts in this area, by exploring how to leverage one another’s content and platforms and by collaborating to explore new ways of working which magnify impact.
Through MySkills4Afrika and the Microsoft Virtual Academy 4Afrika, Microsoft is upskilling the local African workforce, thereby empowering local economics and accelerating their ability and readiness to do business. In addition the Human Capital Development Initiative is enabling collaboration across organizations working on the continent, to ensure that jobs and self-employment opportunities are available for this increasingly skilled workforce and that the workforce has the capacity to undertake them. This is crucial for the success of the Microsoft ecosystem in Africa, as Kunle Awosika, Country Manager for Microsoft Kenya explains. “The biggest challenge is the capacity of skilled workers to meet business requirements. Through this initiative, we are trying to fill the market with experienced people with the right abilities and attitude to address these capacity issues.”
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