Young African Leaders Initiative and Microsoft Africa Development Centre partner to improve youth digital skills

Young African Leaders Initiative and Microsoft Africa Development Centre partner to improve youth digital skills

The Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) and the Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Centre East Africa (YALI) have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate to provide digital skills programs and solutions to young leaders in the region.

According to the MoU, the ADC will provide YALI participants with capacity-building opportunities in digital skills such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, access to its innovation hub at the Microsoft Garage and avail mentorship and training opportunities. YALI, for its part, will collaborate with Microsoft ADC to develop the digital skills programs and will avail training participants and its alumni for training and idea competitions. The YALI alumni will also seek to spread Microsoft’s digital literacy training to other youth.

Kenyatta University VC and Microsoft ADC MD shaking hands on MOU to bring digital skills to the Young African Leaders Initiative

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Catherine Muraga, the ADC Managing Director, noted that the partnership is another step in the organisation’s mission to improve digital skilling for African youth.

“Partnerships are a vital part of our mission as Microsoft to empower everyone to do more. YALI provides essential skills to build a better future, and we are excited to contribute to improving digital skills among their participants. Preparing young leaders with the knowledge to excel within an increasingly digital-first landscape is a great way to set the continent up for success within the global economy,” said Muraga.

Housed at the Kenyatta University for the East Africa region, YALI participants will benefit from skills-building programs co-created by ADC with the intention of improving their digital capabilities as part of their training to add more excellent value to society through sustainably impacting both public and private sector.

Prof. Paul Wainaina, the Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor, said: “The engagement between the Young African Leaders Initiative and the ADC is an opportunity to grow the digital skills of our trainees while augmenting the vision and goals of both YALI and the ADC. It is also a great opportunity to engage in designing training modules for our program’s current and future participants.”

The Africa Development Centre, Microsoft’s premier engineering arm in Africa, is already implementing various projects to improve digital skills, including the recently concluded Game of Learners university coding competition and several other initiatives from the elementary school level into the workplace.

“Our digital skilling efforts align with YALI’s vision of providing access to all emerging leaders regardless of socio-economic status. We are actively investing in creating and fulfilling opportunities for all Africans in the drive towards continental digital transformation,” added Muraga.

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Check out other Microsoft stories making the news across Africa and the Middle East region.

Microsoft launches technical skill-enhancement program for university lecturers.

Microsoft launches technical skill-enhancement program for university lecturers.

The Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) and Microsoft Leap are delighted to launch an inaugural workshop intentionally designed for university lecturers, proficient in leading technology-focused courses. University lecturers will be provided with an opportunity to engage with fellow educators in skill enhancement modules and identify best practices to incorporate into their curriculum. The 12-week program, which begins on March 6th, will use a hybrid classroom model and practical training to provide instructors with a better understanding of industry requirements and inspire a curriculum change that will align university classrooms with the needs of the technology industry.

“This program is the result of collaboration on many fronts, including university lecturers and
their students. The training has been designed to provide lecturers with hands-on experience
with industry needs, allowing them to design effective teaching for their students in an
equally practical manner. The course will also expose them to advanced topics and allow
them to learn and experiment with effective teaching techniques while obtaining essential
aspects of carrying out research studies,” said Catherine Muraga, Microsoft ADC Managing
Director, at the program’s launch.

Yolanda Natal-Santos, Microsoft Leap’s Senior Business Program Manager says “Rooted in
our culture of the growth mindset and the belief that digital skills are for everyone, we are
grateful for our partnership with the Microsoft ADC, as we extend Microsoft Leap’s global
reach to a region that is rich in culture and talent. The growth of our partnership with the
Microsoft ADC, has provided our program with a platform to continue identifying, engaging,
and aligning with changemakers in Africa, as we impact and elevate together.”

Working collectively with Engineers from the ADC, Nairobi, the program will enhance skills,
based on a curriculum developed and taught by Microsoft Leap instructors.

In addition to technical programming aspects and teaching a hybrid classroom, educators
will receive training on specific Microsoft tools that are already being used in classrooms
around the world and can be introduced to Kenyan lecture halls. The program will also
provide technical educators with the tools they need to introduce popular Microsoft
resources like Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Power Platforms, and Microsoft Dynamics.
“JKUAT’s Department of Computing is thrilled to participate in the Microsoft Skilling
Program, as it will provide our staff with access to cutting-edge technologies and a leading
global company. This opportunity to engage with industry-relevant skills and knowledge

Microsoft University Skills Training for University lecturers
Microsoft Event

brings great joy to the university”, Dr. Lawrence Nderu, Chairman/Lecturer, Department of
Computing, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology said.
“The world is changing quickly, and if we are to mould tomorrow’s leaders, we as lecturers
must evolve too. Each day, there are new tools and methods being devised that are
becoming increasingly crucial to operating within the tech industry.
For the sake of our students, it is best that we learn how to leverage industry-standard and
emerging technology from industry leaders.”

Githinji emphasised a multi-pronged approach to improving technical education in Kenyan
universities. “Improving lecturers’ capacities is line with the ADC’s digital skilling initiatives
that range from elementary school-level all the way into the workplace. We held several
campus tours last year, which prompted us to begin a curriculum review process with
JKUAT. Improving all aspects of the training ladder is critical if we want to create a tech
talent pipeline that is not only robust enough to meet today’s needs, but also propels Africa
to compete on a global scale,” she added.

The first cohort of 23 educators is drawn from both private and public universities, including
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Multimedia University,
and Kirinyaga University. Strathmore University, KCA University, Kabarak University, USIU-
Africa, Zetech University, and Africa Nazarene University are the others.

This course is designed to magnify the lecturer’s delivery of core general management and
drive engagement with advanced technology topics. Lecturers will be able to experiment with
alternative teaching techniques and glean additional essential insight and research studies
best practices.

About Microsoft
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an
intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every
organization on the planet to achieve more.

About the ADC
Microsoft launched the Africa Development Centre (ADC) in 2019 with an initial site within
Microsoft offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and another in Lagos, Nigeria. The centre’s goal is to
attract world-class African engineering talent to create innovative solutions spanning the
intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. Since its inception in Nairobi in 2019, the ADC has
grown to over 500

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Catherine Muraga joins Microsoft as the new ADC MD

Catherine Muraga joins Microsoft as the new ADC MD

Catherine Muraga, former head of the engineering team at Stanbic Bank Kenya is joining Microsoft as the new head of the Africa Development Center (ADC East) software engineering hub. She takes over from Jack Nagare who recently made the switch to join Google Cloud as Technical Director.

Catherine Muraga Microsoft ADC East Kenya software engineering hub lead
Catherine speaking at a Girls in ICT Kenya event. Image via Twitter: Shikoh Gitau @DrShikoh

Catherine Muraga brings a diverse wealth of experience to Microsoft ADC having worked in a variety of industries such as manufacturing, aviation, and banking. With an expansive 15 years of knowledge of the IT landscape in Kenya and the region.

Prior to joining Microsoft, she led the Engineering team at Stanbic Bank Kenya and South Sudan. Leading all engineering capabilities including information technology, data, AI and Analytics, Cyber Security, Operations & Real estate services. She was also a member of the bank’s Executive Leadership team. She was previously the Director of IT and Operations at Sidian Bank.

I am excited to be joining the ADC at this particular time says Catherine Muraga. “I look forward to continuing the tremendous work that has already begun“, she adds. 

Catherine is an alumnus of Columbia Business School Digital Strategies for Business, Oxford University Fintech Programme and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from Africa Nazarene University. 

Microsoft says the ADC engineering hub has grown to over 450 full-time employees.

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