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Monday, June 08, 2009

Microsoft, strongly committed to Nigeria – Uwadoka

Global software leader, Microsoft Corporation, has said its strongly committed to the Nigerian project, according to the public relations manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Mrs. Victoria Ndidi Uwadoka.

Speaking at a visit to Champion House, the headquarters of Champion Newspapers Limited (CNL), last weekend, she said, that as part of the commitment, Microsoft Nigeria has grown from two employees in 2000 to 50 employees as at the end of first quarter of 2009.

Microsoft, she also said, works with partners to drive its market and empower local organizations with the relevant skills

“The way it works is that we do not look at Microsoft as the 50 staff who are sitting in the company, we work with a partner ecosystem, because the plan for developing market is to empower local organizations with the skills, tools and support that they need to actually grow the local software economy,” she declared.

Stressing that this was the reason behind the firm’s decision to have a continuous training and mentorship programme which help them scale up.

‘We offer very regular training through the years and we have been doing that and we have the plan to ensure that the Nigerian software companies actually begin to create the software applications that will fit on the Microsoft platform,” she said.
Pointing out that as the challenges in the market place grow within Nigeria “I am sure the staff strength will begin to grow.”

In addition, she said, Microsoft Nigeria has plans to set up innovation centres across the country, to serve as a breeding ground for young software developers.

“But I can’t tell you for sure when this will happen, because it is a plan we must do in partnership with the government, because it will not be a Microsoft whole thing, so that even if Microsoft walks away it can still run,” Mrs. Uwadoka said, reassuring that Microsoft is really interested in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian market is here to stay and that is why Microsoft is making the level of investment it is making in the partnership ecosystem; in the partnership with the government, the private sector, it is a strong commitment,” she said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Nigeria also last week announced the launch of the Language Interface Pack for Windows Vista in three major Nigerian languages, namely Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba.

The launch was part of the Microsoft Local Language Program (LLP) for Nigeria, which strives to provide people of all regions, communities and languages, with access to technology in a language that is familiar and which honors cultural distinctions.

This came at a national launch tagged ‘LLP Go-Live’ in Abuja, by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, represented by Dr. Alhassan Bako Zaku, the Minister of Science and Technology.

There will also be several other ‘LLP Go-live’ events throughout the country to be hosted by NGOs, Microsoft Internet Safety, Security and Privacy Initiative for Nigeria MISSPIN Ambassadors, AIESEC Interns and other language stakeholders to reflect the local impact of the development.

Country Manager for Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Onyeje, said, with the availability of these LIP, his firm has taken a very important step to ensure that language is not a barrier to technology access.

“Through this programme, local communities now have the tools and resources they need to bridge the digital divide and create opportunities for economic advancement,” he said.

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