Thursday, February 28, 2008

Microsoft to empower 2500 youths

Operating Systems (OS) and productivity software giant, Microsoft Corporation, has concluded arrangement to empower 2500 Nigerian youths, as it warms up for the introduction of new products in the nation’s market.

Citizenship Manager, Microsoft West Africa, Mrs Jummai Umar-Ajijola, gave this insight at a media session with the Country Manager, Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu in Lagos.

Responding to questions, Ajijola said that Microsoft rates Nigeria top on its priority list while other countries of note include Senegal and Kenya to name a few.

This, she said, is the reason behind the commencement of its Youth Employability Programme (YEP) in the country in collaboration with the International Youth Foundation (IYF).

She also said that within the unlimited potential programme of Microsoft, that by November this year, 2,500 Nigerian youths selected nationwide and trained to become employable with placement of at least 70 per cent of this figure in jobs would have been accomplished.

To this end, she said, Microsoft is partnering with local non-governmental organisation, Leadership Africa Programme (LEAP) and job placement agencies to accomplish these goals.

The youths to be involved in this programme would be those between the ages of 13 and 18, who would be taught how to use skills to earn a livelihood.

“We believe that creativity maximises potential, and enables great contribution to society and empowering us to build community in conjunction with those around us,” she noted.

Mrs. Ajijola equally said that the six digital villages set up by Microsoft in the six-geopolitical zones of the country are still up and running.

She pointed out that what Microsoft did with these digital villages was to set it up and allow states and NGOs to run them.

Citizenship activities, she said, are geared towards building capacity among teachers, pupils, government officials, NGO administrators, in basic IT education as well as the underserved community in the area of digital inclusion.

“Our goal is to enable the transformation of education, foster local innovation and create jobs and opportunities,” she declared.

Country manager, Microsoft West Africa, Mr. Mba-Uzoukwu reaffirmed his firm’s commitment to contributing towards developing countries where they have operation.

“We have a goal of aligning to national strategies within our eco-system in every country of operation, which could differ from one country to another,” he said.

He said that as part of the global launch of its Windows Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio 2008, which now counts down in days, Microsoft is ready and is preparing grounds for its partners and customers to optimise the new opportunities in what he described as exciting new solutions.

He further informed that two key events have been planned for this quarter in two countries in the sub-region, namely Nigeria and Ghana focusing on the proposed global launch scheduled to hold in Lagos on March 6 and 13 respectively.

During the launch, Microsoft, he said, would showcase stories of IT professionals, especially developers in churning out great work with Windows Server 2008, SQL Server or Visual Studio 2008 that featured in the IT heroes portrait book.

The session was attended by the Public Relations and Events Manager, Ms Ndidiamaka Uwadoka, Original Equipment Manaufacturers (OEM) Lead, Ms Ifejola Adeyemi, Partner Account Management Lead, Mr. Idowu Afe, Enterprise Partner Group (EPG) Lead, Mr. Adefolu Maj ekodunmi and Head Strategist at JSP, Dr. Phil Osagie.

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