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NexTech 2017: Microsoft stays committed to African innovation

Microsoft Kenya General Manager Kunle Awosika (right) , ICT PS Eng Victor Kyalo (centre) and Microsoft’s Partner Director of Software Engineering Bambo Sofolo

With the theme, Building for Africa, NexTech Africa is demonstrating in action Microsoft’s commitment to support and empower innately African creativity and innovation. The organisation’s flagship Africa technology event is taking place on 2 and 3 February in Nairobi, Kenya.

“As a company, we really want to hear from local innovators, businesses and technologists on how they view the future of technology in Africa, and what they need to help them leverage the myriad of opportunities,” says Kunle Awosika, Country Manager of Microsoft Kenya.

The goal of NexTech, of which this is the third instalment, is to help Microsoft play a stronger role in empowering African creators and innovators by bridging the gap between Microsoft engineers and executives, global business leaders and entrepreneurs on the Africa continent. “We want to ensure that as a company, we are providing the best technology solutions and platforms for African technologists and entrepreneurs that takes into account local needs and contexts,” says Awosika.

Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative, which was launched in February 2013, has been actively engaging on the ground to better understand and help shape African innovation for the world.

“4Afrika is about enablement, about helping people achieve more by giving them the best possible tools and skills to make the most of any moment in the mobile-first, cloud-first world. NexTech Africa is an extension of this mission and this work,” comments Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of Microsoft 4Afrika.

The two-day line-up includes a series of talks, sessions and forums on topics such as cloud, big data, machine learning, the Internet of Things, digital transformation and technology in emerging markets.

Kicking off proceedings will be a keynote address to over 400 technology consumers and producers, as well as a worldwide online audience. Speakers include Awosika; Joseph Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary of the Kenyan ICT Ministry; Toni Townes-Whitley, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft; Andreas Fruhen, Director of Technical Operations at M-KOPA Solar; and Bambo Sofola, Partner Director of Engineering at Microsoft, accompanied by a Nigerian WINsiders fellow.

“Technology in Africa is exciting because often it’s where the need is the greatest that innovation is the greatest,” says Awosika. “Along with our support for local entrepreneurs, technologists and businesses, we are excited to be working with African governments in the digital transformation process. In addition, talking about tech (and cloud) for global good brings to light our responsibility to build trustworthy innovations that are inclusive for all.”

Part of this inclusivity is Microsoft’s belief that innovations should be co-created with the community. M-KOPA Solar is a prime example of this, providing pay-as-you-go, off-the-grid solar energy to over 400,000 homes. Using Microsoft Azure, they currently manage over 10 million mobile transactions per year.

#WINsiders4good is another initiative designed to help Windows Insiders tackle important issues in their local communities.

For more information on NexTech Africa, visit www.nextechafrica.net.

(Source: KPR Consulting)