International Development, Global Europe - Policymakers' Debate
04/06/2013
Connecting and empowering Africa: the Microsoft 4Afrika initiative
4th June 2013, Hotel Sofitel Brussels Europe
        


19.00-19.30

Welcome cocktail and registration of participants


19:30

Policymakers' Dinner Debate



Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is transforming African businesses and driving entrepreneurship and economic growth across the continent.  Africa has more than 650 million mobile phone subscribers and the rise of mobile phones has been directly associated with the creation of more than 5 million jobs and contributed 7% to Africa’s GDP — higher than the global average. The World Bank notes that internet bandwidth has grown 20-fold with hundreds of kilometers of cables being laid across the continent, serving an increasing number of Africans.  By 2016, the ’4Afrika Initiative’ plans to help place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of African youth, bringing 1 million African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) online, upskilling 100,000 members of Africa’s existing workforce, and helping an additional 100,000 recent graduates develop employability skills. The initiative will drive entrepreneurship, create jobs, boost the export potential of African companies, and deliver innovation and home-grown solutions. Africa’s youth, business and civic leaders will be able to turn great ideas into practice and contribute to Africa’s competitiveness on the global stage. In addition, broadband has the potential to help diversify Africa’s economy through the growth of online services in industries, including retail, financial services, healthcare, education and agriculture. How can low-cost, high-speed, wireless broadband be delivered to areas currently lacking electricity? What infrastructure is needed in order to benefit from this initiative? How will those living on less than one dollar a day be able to – and without access to smartphones - afford this technology? What are the maintenance costs? How can these ICT innovations and the ’4Afrika Initiative’ benefit all Africans, including the poor, the vulnerable and those living in remote areas?


 

SPEAKERS

 

Fernando de Sousa, General Manager, Microsoft "4Afrika Initiative"
Klaus Rudischhauser, European Commission Deputy Director General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid
Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Secretary General of the African, Carribean and Pacific Group of States
                                                                                                                    

 

Moderated by Giles Merritt, Secretary General of Friends of Europe


 
 
          




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