Microsoft and Huawei unveil smartphone "4Africa"

New smartphone is a key pillar of Microsoft's "4Africa Initiative" project
The new Windows 8 smartphone will be pre-loaded with apps that are tailored for Africa.
The new Windows 8 smartphone will be pre-loaded with apps that are tailored for Africa.

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Microsoft and Huawei are planning to introduce a “full-functionality” Windows Phone 8 smartphone for Africa, called Huawei 4Afrika.

The device, which will be preloaded with select applications designed for Africa, will initially be available in Angola, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa later this month.

The Huawei 4Afrika phone, which is the first in a series of smart devices designed for Afrika, will be targeted toward university students, developers and first-time smartphone users to ensure they have affordable access to best-in-class technology to enable them to connect, collaborate, and access markets and opportunities online.

The handset is a key pillar of Microsoft’s “4Africa Initiative” which aims to help improve the continent’s global competitiveness by accelerating the adoption and use of smart devices.

“We want to empower African youth, entrepreneurs, developers, and business and civic leaders to turn great ideas into a reality that can help their community, their country, the continent and beyond,” said Fernando de Sousa, general manager, 4Afrika Initiative. “The 4Afrika Initiative is built on the dual beliefs that technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world.”

By 2016, the 4Afrika Initiative plans to help place “tens of millions” of smart devices in the hands of African youth, bring 1 million African small and medium-sized enterprises online, and up-skill 100,000 members of Africa’s existing workforce, according to Microsoft.

The project also aims to help an additional 100,000 recent graduates develop “employability skills”, 75% of who Microsoft will help place in jobs.

Click here to read IDC's top 10 telecoms predictions for Africa in 2013.

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