Washington, DC (NAPSI) - Some say a new smartphone designed by Africans for use in Africa is a smart way to promote social and economic development throughout the continent.

The phone is one element of a broader initiative called 4Afrika. It’s built on the dual beliefs that technology such as the smartphone and other devices built for the African market can accelerate growth for Africa andAfricacan also advance technology for the world. The initiative is sponsored by Microsoft and built from the passion of its diverse employees.

A Multifaceted Initiative

The 4Afrika Initiative focuses on three different aspects of social and economic development:

• accelerating capacity building and skills development,

• providing access to technology, particularly through cloud services and smart devices, and

• helping to ignite African innovation for the continent and for the world.

A Chance To Give Back

The 4Afrika Initiative was greatly influenced by Microsoft’s African employees in theUnited Stateswho were driven by the desire to use their talents and passion to give back to their respective countries. The African employees in the Microsoft Employee Network (EN) working in theU.S.were able to provide input during the planning phase of the 4Afrika Initiative and have continued to influence 4Afrika’s various programs.

A telling success of the Africans at Microsoft EN and the commitment to the 4Afrika Initiative is represented by Patrick Onwumere, Microsoft’s Director of Youth Enablement, Africa Initiatives, who was the EN president during the 4Afrika plan ideation and recently transitioned from theRedmondheadquarters back toAfricato lead the 4Afrika Youth Enablement program.

4Afrika offers the opportunity to channel resources fromRedmonddirectly to the continent and provide unprecedented agility, which underscores the opportunity to effect change and drive business impact.

A Long Relationship

Promoting development inAfricais not something new for Microsoft. It has been doing business there for 20 years and now has 22 offices in 19 cities across 14 countries.

To learn more, visit www.microsoft.com/4afrika.