As African countries make tremendous steps in fully integrating ICT in their economies, a technical skills shortage threatens to slow-down the continent’s localization of ICT solutions.

In an effort to bridge this skills gap Microsoft has developed a program that will equip graduates with technical and non-technical skills.

The program aims to bridge the skill gap by impacting 200,000 Africans by 2016, half of which are recent graduates while the rest are up scaled within the partner institutions.

As many as 50 Microsoft staff members from 17 countries around the world have already joined the program in February and have mentored over 600 beneficiaries across partners, innovation hubs, NGO’s and recent graduates.

The volunteers are based across 10 African countries which include Mauritius, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Botswana, Tunisia, Morocco, Tanzania, and Egypt, withan additional 200 volunteerswhowill join in virtually.

“The selection process is very competitive and based on a combination of expertise, experience, seniority and the ability of the volunteer to champion for impact addressing challenges facing African markets,” said Martina Hennessy, Microsoft’s senior project managers from Ireland.

In an effort to bridge this skills gap Microsoft has developed a program that will equip graduates with technical and non-technical skills.

“MySkills4Afrika focuses are based on skills development as a way of building capacity within the African continent and ensure Africans are globally competitive,” said Kenya’s Microsoft country manager Kunle Awosika. “As a company we felt the need to critically invest in this space quite aggressively,” he added.

Kunle insists that MySkills4Afrika is not about charity but rather helping Africa grow, stating that it is a business strategy for Microsoft’s own growth on the continent as well. “We believe deeply that helping Africa accelerate economic development and create jobs will help Microsoft achieve our company’s mission in Africa.”

In addition, MySkills4Afrika brings together Microsoft employees and channel partners in a skills transfer program where employees across the globe volunteer in Africa for a few weeks spending time engaging with mostly young Africans spread across 17 countries.

“Our skills focus is squarely on entrepreneurship and employability, helping Africans find and create jobs. Microsoft employees volunteer across different fields that include sales, marketing, leadership, project management, public relations, Human Resource and communication and more technical areas like software engineering,” explained Awosika.

Furthermore, according to Martina Hennessy, MySkills4Afrika will also helps volunteers understand the dynamics of emerging markets and how best to contribute in addressing local challenges.

Image (Capital FM): The volunteers are based across 10 African countries which include, Mauritius, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Botswana, Tunisia, Morocco, Tanzania, and Egypt, with an additional 200 volunteers who will join in virtually.

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