Microsoft has presented the first four-member board of the Microsoft 4Afrika Advisory Council, an external board of advisers tasked with guiding strategic investments undertaken by the company in Africa.
The board that was officially announced in October last year and features a Rwandan, Akaliza Keza Gara, an entrepreneur and founder of a multimedia company, was presented in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Tuesday.
The youthful board will be tasked with presenting issues facing Africa’s rural and urban youth, including unemployment, education and access to technology.
The initiative will facilitate Microsoft’s active engagement in Africa’s economic development.
Akaliza Keza Gara, who represents the East African region, said that she would use the opportunity to share opportunities in the use of technology to impact people’s lives.
“I hope that I will be able to represent my region well by sharing the unique needs and opportunities that exist. My role involves sharing my own experience working in the tech industry in East Africa, and the stories of youth in my social and business circles, to help the initiative better understand the region and inform them about the existing activities promoting ICT for development.”
Tayeb Sbihi, a Moroccan entrepreneur who is also a board member, said that the diversity of the board was an advantage that would create different insights as well as bring out a range of ideas.
“Our skills complement each other, and we bring different insights, be it technological, political, environmental or social. We represent a good mix, and we will work together to do something good,” he noted.
Former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, the chairman of Microsoft 4Afrika Advisory Council, said the youth are playing a big role in presenting solutions in various sectors through ICT which has helped create employment opportunities.
“The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) field is not only redefining how we conduct our major businesses on the continent, it is increasingly improving the efficiency of critical support services such as education, health, and disaster mitigation and management,” Mkapa said.
“Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative will be critical in defining a framework that other global and indigenous organisations in the ICT space can adopt to leverage this emerging space and promote economic development in Africa. We are excited about the induction of the new 4Afrika Advisory Council youth members because it helps the initiative stay true to the spirit of youth, enterprise and innovation”.