Innovative partnerships involving governments, software giants and telcoms will accelerate connectivity and bridge Africa’s gaping digital divide.
Experts who met at a just concluded third edition of the Africa Public-Private Partnership Conference in Nairobi hailed the potential of structured collaboration between the public and private sectors to transform Africa into an ICT hub. Zaki Khoury, the Regional Manager, Global Strategic Accounts, Middle East, North, West, and Central Africa as well as Pakistan and Turkey at Microsoft, underscored the potential of public-private partnerships to promote universal access to ICT services in Africa.
Khoury noted that Africa is a frontier market that has attracted investments in ICT sector as the GDP of many countries expand. “We have ICT hubs in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. This calls for a revaluation of our business model to engage more with governments and private companies and leverage these partnerships to accelerate connectivity,” says Khoury.
He continued “Microsoft adopts public-private partnerships to maximize on the resources, leverage our technology and scale up our execution together with governments and other companies.” Khoury stressed that structured public private partnerships are critical in addressing social challenges such as provision of quality education and health services.
“These partnerships have boosted quality and competitiveness of the education system. They have increased collaboration among students alongside connectivity with teachers to create greater knowledge forums”, remarked Khoury. Mainstreaming ICT in the education sector in Africa will boost skills and competitiveness of the youth in the job market.
Khoury vouched for digital learning in schools to prepare students for a knowledge based economy. Microsoft has partnered with Kenya’s Ministry of education under a “Partnership in Learning” project to develop digital curriculum for schools.
“We will in the next three years help Kenya progress towards digital literacy,” says Khoury. He cited the “Microsoft Digital Literacy” initiative that has helped streamline technology enhanced learning in schools.