Microsoft's 4Afrika Initiative: Fuelling Africa's Growth through Technology

Microsoft's 4Afrika Initiative: Fuelling Africa's Growth through Technology
Case Code: BSTR475
Case Length: 16 Pages
Period: 2013 - 2014
Pub Date: 2015
Teaching Note: Not Available
Price: Rs.500
Organization: Microsoft Corporation
Industry: Computers, IT and ITeS
Countries: Africa
Themes: Economic Development, Information and Communications Technology
Microsoft's 4Afrika Initiative: Fuelling Africa's Growth through Technology
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts

Abstract

This case discusses US-based software giant, Microsoft Corporation's (Microsoft) 4Afrika initiative, launched in February 2013 as a US$ 75 million project with the stated aim of engaging in Africa's economic development and thereby improving its global competitiveness. Through the 4Afrika initiative, Microsoft aimed to increase Internet accessibility using affordable smart devices, promote new Africentric technologies, and educate the next generation of African web developers.

As part of the 4Afrika initiative, Microsoft collaborated with Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (Huawei) in February 2013, and launched Huawei 4Afrika, a Windows 8 smartphone to increase the adoption of smartphones. The software giant also announced the deployment of a pilot project with the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications and Kenyan Internet service provider, Indigo Telecom Ltd. for improving technology access across Kenya. Among other initiatives, the company started an SME Online Hub to enable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa to have access to free and relevant products and services from Microsoft and other partners. The hub was expected to help SMEs expand their businesses, fund their businesses, and increase their overall competitiveness. Microsoft also established the Afrika Academy, an education platform that leveraged online and offline learning tools, to help Africans develop both technical and business skills for entrepreneurship and improved employability.

By 2016, the 4Afrika initiative was expected to distribute tens of millions of devices to young Africans to give them access to the ICT and thus contribute to Africa's economic development, bring 1 million SMEs online, and help 200, 000 Africans develop skills for entrepreneurship and employability.

Analysts believed that the company's 4Afrika initiative had tremendous potential that could be tapped in Africa, which had become the second largest mobile phone market in the world as of October 2014. Sensing the potential in the African continent, some analysts believed that smartphones and other wireless devices would probably continue to be the primary way most Africans would access the Internet in future. They felt that with Mawingu able to deliver low-cost, high-speed Internet access to areas without even access to basic electricity, the Internet revolution was poised to grow at a rapid pace.

Issues

The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Analyze the 4Afrika initiative launched by Microsoft in Africa
  • Understand how the 4Afrika initiatives will help in fuelling Africa‚Äôs growth through technology and increase its global competitiveness

Contents

Keywords

Microsoft Corporation, 4Afrika initiative, Economic development, digital inclusion, Small and medium enterprises, Information and Communications, Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Employability, Afrika Academy, AppFactory, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications

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