The Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) and the Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Centre East Africa (YALI) have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate to provide digital skills programs and solutions to young leaders in the region.
According to the MoU, the ADC will provide YALI participants with capacity-building opportunities in digital skills such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning, access to its innovation hub at the Microsoft Garage and avail mentorship and training opportunities. YALI, for its part, will collaborate with Microsoft ADC to develop the digital skills programs and will avail training participants and its alumni for training and idea competitions. The YALI alumni will also seek to spread Microsoft’s digital literacy training to other youth.
(TOP: L-R – Prof. Paul K. Wainaina, the VC, Kenyatta University, and Catherine Muraga, the MD, Microsoft Africa Development Centre, present the MoU between the ADC and the YALI Regional Leadership Centre, East Africa, which is housed at Kenyatta University. The MoU will see the ADC provide digital skills training and capacity building to YALI participants).
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Catherine Muraga, the ADC Managing Director, noted that the partnership is another step in the organisation’s mission to improve digital skilling for African youth.
“Partnerships are a vital part of our mission as Microsoft to empower everyone to do more. YALI provides essential skills to build a better future, and we are excited to contribute to improving digital skills among their participants. Preparing young leaders with the knowledge to excel within an increasingly digital-first landscape is a great way to set the continent up for success within the global economy,” said Muraga.
Housed at the Kenyatta University for the East Africa region, YALI participants will benefit from skills-building programs co-created by ADC with the intention of improving their digital capabilities as part of their training to add more excellent value to society through sustainably impacting both public and private sector.
Prof. Paul Wainaina, the Kenyatta University VC, said: “The engagement between the Young African Leaders Initiative and the ADC is an opportunity to grow the digital skills of our trainees while augmenting the vision and goals of both YALI and the ADC. It is also a great opportunity to engage in designing training modules for our program’s current and future participants.”
The Africa Development Centre, Microsoft’s premier engineering arm in Africa, is already implementing various projects to improve digital skills, including the recently concluded Game of Learners university coding competition and several other initiatives from the elementary school level into the workplace.
“Our digital skilling efforts align with YALI’s vision of providing access to all emerging leaders regardless of socio-economic status. We are actively investing in creating and fulfilling opportunities for all Africans in the drive towards continental digital transformation,” added Muraga.
Microsoft launched the Africa Development Centre (ADC) in 2019 with an initial site within Microsoft offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and another in Lagos, Nigeria. The centre aims to attract world-class African engineering talent to create innovative solutions spanning the intelligent cloud and edge. Since its inception in Nairobi in 2019, the ADC has grown to over 500 full-time employees in software engineering, machine learning, data science, market research, infrastructure, and much more.
The US government launched the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The need to invest in grooming strong, results-oriented leaders comes from the statistics: nearly 1 in 3 Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60% of Africa’s total population is below age 35.
In East Africa, YALI is domiciled at Kenyatta University. The centre promotes three models designed to identify and empower young leaders: the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship, the YALI Network, and the establishment of Regional Leadership Centers across sub-Sahara Africa.