Posted by Cheick Diarra
Chairman for Africa Microsoft Corp

Welcome all to the new Microsoft on the Issues Africa blog where leaders from across our company – as well as key industry partners - will be discussing the role of ICT as a driver of Africa’s development. It is the tool that will help and drive moving African citizens out of poverty, by supporting the creation of wealth and sustainable growth in the region. We can only do this, however, if we, in Africa, create the right policy environment, invest in the necessary infrastructure and act decisively and in a timely manner.

Investment is an integral part of the process, as we need to ensure that the local economy has the right financial infrastructure model in place to be able to effectively drive business capabilities. Of late, organisations such as L’Organisation pour l’Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (OHADA) have recognised how consistent policy making and legal structuring are crucial in establishing congruent, stable development and economic growth.

In addition to this, we at Microsoft are actively championing regional support of and attendance at meetings such as the Africa Union (AU) Summit, and the EU Africa Business Forum, which provide the opportunity to communicate the importance of ICT to Africa’s growth potential, to develop key business partnerships and to discuss ways in which companies can leverage ICT to overcome the barriers to trade and investment that they currently face.

Through all of this, Africa’s greatest resource is its people. It is an untapped reserve of one billion people, 60% of whom are under 30 – with huge potential to transform the continent towards prosperity if the right tools, knowledge, structures and policies are put in place. For Microsoft, this means delivering access to the relevant ICT tools, technology and hardware by partnering with other organisations and governments, both regionally and internationally, to facilitate entrepreneurship and business growth through sharing information, best practices and skills. 

What is clear is that technology is going to play a long-lasting and meaningful role in addressing many of Africa’s challenges and that Microsoft, through working both with partners and independently, is committed to playing a key role in making this happen by taking advantage of the untold possibilities and untapped potential for wealth creation. If we work in partnership to provide the right infrastructures and the right opportunities then the citizens of Africa will do the rest.

I look forward to hearing your feedback and encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this subject.