The four youth ambassadors will represent the issues facing Africa’s rural and urban youth, including unemployment, education and access to technology on the Microsoft 4Afrika Advisory Council, which was announced last October to spearhead the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative.
The youth members were selected from U.S. President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, the African Leadership Network, the African Leadership Initiative, the Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship Program and the World Economic Forum’s Forum of Young Global Leaders.
The youth advisory council members include Nigeria’s Chude Jideonwo, Rwanda’s Akaliza Keza Gara, Morocco’s Tayeb Sbihi And Cameroon’s social activist and entrepreneur Olivia Mukam.
They will meet in person twice annually and will also hold regionally focused meetings throughout the year.
H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, chairman, Microsoft 4Afrika Advisory Council said,“The information and communications technology (ICT) field is not only redefining how we conduct our major businesses on the continent, it is increasingly improving the efficiency of critical support services, such as education, health, and disaster mitigation and management. The young demographic is playing a big role in integrating new solutions to these services, and this has helped create new industries and employment opportunities,”
“The Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative will be critical in defining a framework that other global and indigenous organizations in the ICT space can adopt to leverage this emerging space and promote economic development in Africa. We are excited about the induction of the new 4Afrika Advisory Council youth members because it helps the initiative stay true to the spirit of youth, enterprise and innovation,” Mkapa added.
Rwanda’s Akaliza Keza Gara is a founder of multimedia company Shaking Sun and a mentor at open technology hub kLab in Kigali and a member of Girls in ICT Rwanda. She’s is currently setting up an animation studio to create cartoons and films for African children.
Nigeria’s Chude Jideonwo, is an award-winning journalist, media entrepreneur and youth development expert, Jideonwo is co-founder and managing partner of RED, an innovative media company that owns the Future Awards Africa, the continent’s premier youth event. Jideonwo also founded Enough Is Enough Nigeria, one of Nigeria’s foremost civic groups, and has been awarded several accolades, including being selected by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper.
Morocco’s Tayeb Sbihi, is an entrepreneur, Sbihi has a bachelor of science, a master of science and an MBA, and he has 10 years of professional experience in multinational companies specializing in new technologies. With a wide knowledge of the telecoms market, he founded his first company, B2N Consulting, offering a wide range of telecom services and solutions to Morocco and Africa.
While Cameroon’s social activist and entrepreneur Olivia Mukam, who helped solve the problem of waterborne diseases in West Cameroon by giving 5,000 villagers access to clean water while as a student. She then founded the NGO Harambe to engage Cameroonian youth to be national problem solvers. Thousands of youth were trained with business skills, and the for-profit business that Mukam co-founded, Solutioneurs SARL (LLC), taps into the Harambe database of skills to deliver affordable solutions to small businesses in Cameroon, Nigeria, the U.K and the U.S.
“Africa has a relatively young population. This can be either a curse or a blessing. The aim of our 4Afrika Initiative is to unleash the potential of Africa’s youth. Our ambassadors will guide us as we strive to achieve this goal,” said Mteto Nyati, vice chair, Microsoft 4Afrika Advisory Council.
The Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative aims at helping improve Africa’s global competitiveness and aims to give millions of smart devices in the hands of African youth, bring 1 million African small and medium-sized enterprises online, upskill 100,000 members of Africa’s workforce, and help 100,000 recent graduates develop skills for employability and help place 75 percent of those graduates in jobs.