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Posted by Jean-Philippe CourtoisPresident of Microsoft International
Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting two African countries – Morocco and Ivory Coast – meeting with business, academic and government leaders in each. My agenda for both countries focused firmly on three topics which are all top of mind in nearly every country I visit in the world: education, employability and cloud computing.
In Rabat, Morocco I gave an address to 1,000 engineering students at l’Ecole Mohammedia des Ingénieurs in Rabat, encouraging them to take advantage of the many free technologies and programs available to them through Microsoft initiatives like DreamSpark and BizSpark and to get involved in this year’s Imagine Cup, our annual “World Cup” of software development that encourages students to build technology solutions to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges.
Jean-Philippe Courtois, Samir Benmakhlouf and top Microsoft Student Partners from l’Ecole Mohammedia des Ingénieurs
I was also very proud to announce, along with our Country Manager Samir Benmakhlouf and the Institut Royal de la Culture Amazighe, the integration of the Amazigh language into Windows 8. This language is spoken by roughly 20 million people in Morocco and Algeria, and this integration will enable them all to easily engage in the digital world through Windows 8.
In Ivory Coast, I was thrilled to join our Country Manager Simon Ouattara to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of ICT through which we will jointly provide 500,000 PCs loaded with Microsoft software, including Windows and Office, to Ivorian citizens, with 100,000 of those to be delivered in the next year. As part of the same agreement and in alignment with YouthSpark, our recently announced global initiative to help 300 million youth globally in the next three years to realize their full potential, we are also extending our digital literacy efforts and our Students to Business program in the country, which will help Ivorian students get jobs with local Microsoft partners.
Bruno Koné, Minister of ICT for Ivory Coast, Jean-Philippe Courtois and Simon Ouattara
My second opportunity to connect with students was at Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny de Cocody in Abidjan, where I announced a deal that will provide 100,000 students from five of Ivory Coast’s top universities with access to Live@EDU and the Microsoft IT Academy, to enable them to earn Microsoft certifications to help bolster their employability. As this country rebuilds, we believe these investments will play an important role in developing local leaders and business owners.
Overall, it was truly fantastic to be back on the continent connecting with so many customers, partners, students and our own teams who bring such passion to everything they do. We see tremendous potential in Africa and are deeply committed to strengthening and extending our presence and efforts to help all Africans realise their full potential.
By Dele AkinsadeDeveloper Platform Lead, West, East, Central Africa & Indian Ocean Islands
The launch of Windows 8 on October 26th was definitely one of the most exciting days of my career so far. Why? Well, you may already know that I am incredibly passionate about developers and the potential that exists for them to make a lasting positive contribution to Africa. And to me, the launch of Windows 8 was a single moment in time that I believe represented the opening of an enormous ‘window’ of opportunity across the continent.
We already know how many talented developers we have in Africa. We have seen them demonstrate that they are ready to compete globally during events like Imagine Cup, DEMO Africa, our Developer Camps, and through the many excellent Windows Phone 7 apps that have been developed by African developers, which we have showcased through our ‘Developer of the Week’ campaign.
But now, developers, you are faced with an opportunity like no other.
Apps are at the centre of the Windows 8 experience. And we all know that the more locally relevant the app, the more useful it is to the user.
So, quite simply: You have the potential to shape the way Africa experiences Windows 8.
You have the ability to be part of the reason Windows 8 will be the most relevant version of Windows in Africa yet.
And, you have the chance to come up with apps that will address uniquely African challenges, as well as the opportunity to sell globally relevant apps to customers in over 200 markets.
With a global marketplace waiting for your apps, the best tools available for you to use, and a good financial model – the only thing left for you to do is to get going!
I can’t wait to see what the African developer community has in store for us :)
Akinwale Ariwodola is a Nigerian based developer and has already developed three Windows 8 apps: MovieTimes, ClassicRSS and Slyde.
Where to start1. Register for BizSpark, so one of our network partners can provide you access to the development tools you need.2. Visit the Windows 8 Dev Centre to get the downloads you need