Photograph — TechCityNG

Microsoft Nigeria, a leading multinational technology company, through its 4Afrika initiative, supports startups that are solving social problems using technology in Africa. The technology giant recently empowered three Nigerian startups that are technologically rooted by showcasing them during a fireside chat in Lagos, Nigeria.

The fireside featured three Nigerian startups; Riby, MAX, and Flutterwave. These startups provide services ranging from on-time delivery by connecting customers and retailers, to online payment services and providing savings platforms.

Microsoft’s 4Afrika is a 75 million USD project launched in 2013 with the sole aim of transforming Africa digitally. Since it was launched 5 years ago, Microsoft has invested in emerging entrepreneurs in the continent by increasing internet accessibility via affordable smart devices, educating the next generation of African web developers and promoting new Africentric technologies.

The Innovation Lead, Microsoft 4Afrika, Djiba Diallo, while giving his remarks during the fireside chat explained the reason behind Microsoft’s decision to invest in the next generation and support their ideas.

“Startups are very dear to Microsoft’s heart – through our own origin story, and through our experiences where we have engaged with startups to understand the challenges they encounter and supported them to bridge some of these gaps. It’s core to our mission of empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more,” he said.

The event also draws the attention of participants and audience to these startups which were showcased by Microsoft and their social impact. Alami Abolore, CEO of Riby gave a comprehensive explanation of what the startup does and how it been able to mitigate financial exclusion through the digital platform.

“Cooperatives are not recognised because they are not financially included. The unique selling proposition is to digitise the process, validate the cooperatives and issue ATM cards to members,” Abolore said.

Investing in the future

Since it was launched five years ago, Microsoft 4Afrika has fast become a catalyst for young technology enthusiast by supporting SMEs and young developers. Microsoft 4Afrika has reached over 1.7 million SMEs, bringing over half a million of them online to reach new markets and grow their businesses.

Through its programmes such as AppFactories, 4Afrika grant, Open4Business and Interns4Afrika, it has created numerous jobs for young people across the continent while startups have expanded over the years.

Microsoft has partnered with local hubs, accelerators and companies to train, support and invest in startups across Africa. Amongst the startups that have received funding and grants through the 4Afrika initiative includes, Gamsole, MyMusic and SpacePointe.

“We are empowering Africans to shape Africa’s future, by enabling people to get online, start businesses and thrive. By empowering businesses to create jobs and government services that are digitized, we will enhance the acceleration of digital transformation in Nigeria,”  said Amrote Abdella Amrote Abdella, 4Afrika Regional Director, during the 5th year anniversary of the initiative in April.

The initiative has unearthed a myriad of young developers – interns – across different African countries who now work with Microsoft local partners in Africa. Its impact has also spread out to millions of people through partnerships with private and public individuals who support entrepreneurs.

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