14 August 2013 Software giant Microsoft has introduced a scholarship programme to mentor, train and provide job opportunities to 1 000 talented young students across the continent as part of its 4Afrika Initiative. The 4Afrika Initiative is a drive to boost the adoption of smart devices, empower small businesses and accelerate skills development on the continent. The scholarships to the world’s first tuition-free online university, University of the People, will offer mentorship, leadership and technical training in computer science and business administration from Microsoft employees around the world. “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,” the company said in a statement on Monday. “University of the People works hard to ensure that university-level education is a possibility for the masses, and through the 4Afrika scholarship programme, Microsoft is helping us extend that possibility even further in Africa,” said the university’s president, Shai Reshef. It 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 program is to level the playing field for talented young African minds who might not otherwise have the resources, enabling them to get the education and skills they need to thrive in technology-related fields,” said Microsoft 4Afrika’s director of youth enablement, Patrick Onwumere. “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.” Applicants need to be at least 18 years old, have a high-school diploma and internet access. To facilitate this, Microsoft Innovations Centres in Botswana, Tunisia, Tanzania and Uganda will open working space for winners in these areas and Microsoft partner hubs will do the same. Applications for scholarships can be submitted on www.uopeople.org/4afrika, with the first students beginning courses in November this year. SAinfo reporter
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