Kenya’s ICT Authority (ICTA) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Microsoft which will see 10,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) brought online within three years, among a number of other initiatives aimed at strengthening the country’s ICT capacity.
Under the MoU, over the next three years 10,000 Kenyan SMEs will be brought online, and 50,000 working professionals will receive ICT training.
The agreement also stipulates 1.2 million devices will be distributed to primary and secondary schools by 2016, supported by the training of 30,000 teachers under the “Microsoft Partners in Learning” course over the next five years.
ICTA said the MoU forms part of the government’s priority strategy to grow Kenya’s knowledge economy, and supports the country’s plans to become a regional ICT leader.
“Building local ICT capacity forms an important part of our Kenya Vision 2030 and shift from a labour-based to a middle-income, knowledge economy. The ICT Masterplan also recognizes that to be a leader in ICT we need to up the skills of our workforce,” said Joseph Tiampati, principal secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of ICT.
“By collaborating with Microsoft, we are fast-tracking the development of local ICT skills, empowering working professionals, providing access to broadband and promoting small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya.”
The partners said the initiative aims to develop a world-class skilled workforce, create jobs, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship; while also supporting ICT learning in schools, and increasing the availability of reliable and affordable devices and broadband.
“Investing in Africa’s skills for both entrepreneurship and employability is key in helping Africans find and create jobs to promote inclusive economic growth and we look forward to working with the Ministry of ICT on this,” said Ali Faramawy, corporate vice president at Microsoft, for the Middle East and Africa region.
Disrupt Africa reported last month Microsoft launched the Biz4Afrika portal for Kenyan SMEs, providing access to information, and an online community for entrepreneurs; with Microsoft saying entrepreneurs are increasingly becoming one of East Africa’s greatest assets.
“Initiatives like the Biz4Afrika portal and this MOU are essential for the development of ICT skills in Kenya to promote entrepreneurship,” said Victor Kyalo, chief executive officer (CEO) of ICTA.
“Kenya is already Africa’s third largest knowledge economy and the country leads the global mobile economy, with about 40 per cent of the country’s GDP transacting through mobile phones every day. Public-private partnerships like these are what will ensure the momentum and sustainability of this growth, transforming Kenya into a globally competitive digital economy.”