Leveraging employee skills to support African businesses

Microsoft: MySkills4Afrika

Leveraging employee skills to support African businesses


Launched in 2013, MySkills4Afrika blends business and market development with long-term capacity building to drive economic development, inclusive growth, and digital transformation across the continent. Microsoft employees can directly support these capacity-building efforts by volunteering their time, skills, and expertise through the MySkills4Afrika program, which has 3 main objectives:

  1. Promote global leadership and skills development amongst our employees
  2. Provide better understanding of the African markets throughout the company
  3. Transfer vital skills that help Africans grow, innovate and compete globally


MS wanted to shift attitudes towards Africa within the wider company and increase skills in its African partner ecosystem. The solution was to design a unique programme that provided MS employees all over the world with an opportunity to use their skills to support African businesses and startups.


The MySkillsAfrika program always starts with the local need. Representatives from organizations partner with a local Microsoft employee (the project owner) to submit a request for support through the MySkills4Afrika program. The organization and project owner are guided through a process to focus on a specific need. Once approved, the MySkills team broadcasts the need for skills-based volunteers across the company to find the best possible support. The opportunities identified range from 1-2 week intensive projects delivered in person in Africa, to longer term coaching and mentoring engagements delivered virtually. Employees apply to undertake the opportunities and are supported through their journey using a customised electronic platform that enables scalability and quick fulfilment of partners needs.


A comprehensive M&E framework assesses the success of the programme, with 400 in person exchanges and 300 virtual, supporting more than 650 partners across 33 countries. 99% of participants reported positive developments in their leadership skills as a result of their particpation in the program.

“Through Myskills4Afrika I acquired new professional skills and I also joined a personal life changing journey.”

– MySkills4Afrika Programme Participant