Microsoft moves to create jobs for 300 million youth
Software giant Microsoft Corp., has announced the launch of YouthSpark – a global initiative that aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries during the next three years which will effect a reduction in the high unemployment rate plaguing the continent. This companywide initiative includes Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and other company programs — both new and enhanced — empowering youth to imagine and realise their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship.
“It is a sad reality that while young Africans are more literate than their parents, more of them remain unemployed,” says Djam Bakhshandegi, CSI Program Manager at Microsoft in Africa. “Through YouthSpark, in sub-Saharan Africa alone, we have already reached over half a million young people and made $1.1 million worth of software donations to non-Government-organisations. In addition we have trained almost 30, 000 teachers through our Partners In Learning tools as well as equipping hundreds of small & medium businesses with relevant start up skills.
As part of its broader strategy, Microsoft views Africa as a critical investment market. Its flagship African investment and growth drive, 4Afrika, which YouthSpark falls under on the African continent, was launched in February 2013. Through 4Afrika, Microsoft will actively engage in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness. By 2016, the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative plans to help place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of African youth, bring 1 million African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) online, up-skill 100,000 members of Africa’s existing workforce, and help an additional 100,000 recent graduates develop skills for employability, 75 percent of which Microsoft will help place in jobs.
Other YouthSpark initiatives include a career-ready education program available to all accredited academic institutions, providing students with 21st century technology under the Microsoft IT Academy: free access to Microsoft designer and developer tools for students and educators, helping advance key technical skills during the high school and college years: Imagine Cup – a worldwide premier youth technology competition: a program that connects university students to business, jobs or internships in the technology industry and BizSpark.
“We are committed to using our technology, talent, time and money to help create sustainable growth across the African continent,” says Bakhshandegi.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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Source: Ventures Africa