Multinational software giant Microsoft through its Microsoft Africa Iniative will be doing several projects on the continent especially with youthful software entrepreneurs in a move to up their employability and stir the continent for development amidst global competition.
According to Fernando de Sousa, GM Microsoft Africa Initiative, speaking to local media, Microsoft believes this is the time to set up application factories in Ethiopia and across Africa.
de Sousa told The Reporter:“From the communities springs a factory. I think what we have done is to look for the opportunities and we see a community of people in Ethiopia that are writing applications, that are taking technology and trying to build solutions. Being based in East Africa I think helps us create the scale to address a market potential like Ethiopia.”
Microsoft will also build startups in Africa and help them stay connected with the digital world through its African Initiative Program.
According to a Mckinsey Report, Africa is growing due to rising global demand for oil, natural gas, minerals, food, arable land, and the like. The report finds that over the next decade, the world’s liquid-fuel consumption will go up by 25 percent, resources Africa has in abundance. The continent has 10 percent of the world’s reserves of oil, 40 percent of its gold, and 80 to 90 percent of the chromium and the platinum metal group and several others undiscovered.
There is also an increasing demand for commodities in the world’s emerging economies, such as Asia and the Middle East which are mostly supplied by Africa than Europe. Africa conducts half its trade with developing economic regions and Asia’s share of African trade doubled, to 28 percent, while Western Europe’s portion shrank, to 28 percent, from 51 percent giving Africa a better bargaining power and then the uptake of tech and development of skills.
The continent is also gaining increased access to international capital with annual flow of FDI into Africa up from $9 billion in 2000 to $62 billion in 2008, plus its resource sectors such as tourism, textiles, construction, banking, and telecommunications the continent is growing.
Ubarnisation and education have given rise to the middle-class African consumer. According to the report, in 1980, just 28 percent of Africans lived in cities compared to 40 percent of the continent’s one billion today slightly same as China’s and larger than India’s. According to the report by 2030, the urban population is projected to stand at 50 percent giving Africa’s top 18 cities a combined spending power of $1.3 trillion.
Who doesn’t want a piece of this cake?
UPDATE:Microsoft is not opening manufacturing plants; BUT application factories for developers, through which they can create Windows applications for the Windows 8 or Windows Phone platform. It would be similar to the App Factories Microsoft currently has set up in Egypt and South Africa. We have made changes in the story to reflect this according to Microsoft.