COMESA and Microsoft collaborate to promote skills and innovation across 19 African Countries

By mahlokoane percy ngwato

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) through the COMESA Business Council (CBC) and Microsoft have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which sets out how they will collaborate in the areas of access to technology, development of skills and fostering  innovation.

This collaboration is in line with Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative and will, furthermore, promote technology access, improve regional trade, develop ICT skills and promote local innovation for better service delivery.

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The MoU will promote access to technology to COMESA Member States based on a Trusted Cloud Infrastructure that focuses on the secure deployment of modern IT operations. It is also expected this collaboration will accelerate and promote the adoption of innovative high-speed low-cost connectivity initiatives, including through new policy approaches to spectrum management such as dynamic spectrum access. It will also encourage the use of cloud technologies through the adoption of important enabling policies in the areas of cyber-security, data privacy and data protection.

Sindiso Ngwenya, COMESA’s Secretary General, said: “Business technology has revolutionised the way countries and firms conduct business. We are in an age where the planning processes of organisations is through instruments and solutions that promote quality management, and respond to age –old constraints of time limitations and high costs of operations.”

Antony Cook, Associate General Counsel, Legal and Corporate Affairs Microsoft, Middle East and Africa said: “Through this collaboration, we will bring policy makers and businesses together and empower them to take advantage of the cloud-first, mobile-first world.

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“With the right policies and regulations in place, people will be encouraged to use cloud technology, develop their own IP and ultimately participate in trade and e-commerce across borders. With innovative eGovernment services, citizens and businesses will additionally benefit from safe online transactions, open borders, efficiency and increased foreign investment,”

The collaboration is further expected to focus on fostering innovation across the COMESA region by promoting the value and protection of Intellectual Property. It will also encourage the development of eGovernment solutions that will facilitate, simplify and stimulate investment in and trade across the COMESA region to save on time and the cost of complying with business governance and regulations.

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