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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Microsoft, FG deal to boost local software

Microsoft Corporation has entered a strategic partnership deal with the Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) to give a boost to development of local software industry.

The partnership according to the Public Sector Lead at Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Okey Ikpe has several ways in which the agreement will help to deliver on the government’s goals, noting that one core area is the local development of software.

Speaking after the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the strategic partnership in Abuja recently, Mr. Ikpe explained that the corporation would establish a Microsoft Innovation Centre at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja before the end of next year.

“Primarily to help the Nigerian software industry develop its skills still further,” he said. Mr. Ikpe also said that the centre would provide Information Technology (IT) professionals with solid technical training, offer local partners an opportunity to collaborate with each other or their international counterparts, and help developers to showcase their ‘made in Nigeria’ software.


In addition, he said, the pact would enable the creation of a pool of Nigerians trained as Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (MCSEs) in another way.

This, he noted, allows people to use development tools to create software applications that are locally relevant and in turn, stimulates the creation of a local software economy and economic growth of Nigeria.

Mr. Ikpe further said that the ability of government employees to communicate electronically, collaborate across departments and interact with citizens is yet another benefit of the MoU.

“Through the effective use of computer software, internal processes can be simplified, the time taken to meet public demands can be reduced and the public’s overall experience with government can be significantly enhanced,” he said.

Consequently, Microsoft will also be working to make ICT available, accessible, secure and relevant to the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria.

This includes continuing to support programmes such as the Computers for All Nigerians Initiative (CANi); to translating software into local languages such as Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba; and to protecting citizens from the threats of cybercrime.

“Given the importance of e-Government in Africa, we will be working closely with the Federal Government to transfer knowledge from projects implemented successfully in other parts of the world. This is just part of our overall support to help the Federal Government meet its clear commitment to improving accessibility and transparency,” he added.

As said by Ikpe, Microsoft through its subsidiary in Nigeria, would also be driving programmes that enable a broad spectrum in the country for the citizens to gain experience and expertise in ICT.“This includes continued investment in the Partners in Learning technology-in-education investments, as well as the sustainability of digital villages already established across the nation,” he said.

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