In recognition of International Youth Day, Microsoft has introduced the 4Afrika Scholarship programme as part of its 4Afrika Initiative, through which it will provide mentorship, leadership and technical training, certification, university-level education, and employment opportunities for promising African students.
Mentorship will be provided by Microsoft employees from around the world, and employment opportunities will include internships and both part-time and full-time jobs within Microsoft, as well as with the company’s more than 10 000 partners across Africa.
Through the company’s 4Afrika Initiative and YouthSpark programme, Microsoft has committed to helping millions of Africans get critical skills for entrepreneurship and employability.
The 4Afrika Scholarship programme is one way the company intends to meet that goal, by helping ensure that promising youth have access to the education, resources and skills they need to succeed, regardless of their financial situations. To help redress gender disparity in higher education in Africa, the company is actively encouraging young women to apply.
Microsoft also announced that in the coming year it will provide 4Afrika Scholarships to 1,000 youth to pursue associate degrees in computer science and business administration with the first participating higher-education institution, University of the People.
The institution is an online university dedicated to the democratisation of higher education, which is affiliated with the United Nations, the Clinton Global Initiative, New York University and the Yale Law School Information Society Project.
“Together with participating education institutions, Microsoft’s goal with the 4Afrika Scholarship programme is to level the playing field for talented young African minds that might not otherwise have the resources, enabling them to get the education and skills they need to thrive in technology-related fields,” says Patrick Onwumere, director of youth enablement at Microsoft 4Afrika.
“The 4Afrika Initiative was designed to help ensure that Africa can become globally competitive, and investing in our highly motivated youth is a critical step toward making that a reality.”
Students wanting to apply for these first 4Afrika Scholarships to attend University of the People must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma and be proficient in English, since all coursework is taught in English.
They must also have access to the Internet to participate in the online classes. To help address the connectivity issue, the company is making working space available in its Microsoft Innovation Centres in Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda and Botswana for successful applicants near those locations.
In addition, Microsoft is working with various partner hubs across Africa to make similar arrangements for students in other locations.
“University of the People works hard to ensure that university-level education is a possibility for the masses, and through the 4Afrika Scholarship program, Microsoft is helping us extend that possibility even further in Africa,” says Shai Reshef, president of the University of the People. “We are proud to be working with Microsoft to help create amazing opportunities and open new doors for Africa’s youth.”