17 July 2008
Software giant Microsoft has announced that it is to build four innovation centres in Africa – including two in South Africa – over the next two years.
Speaking at the 7th Southern African Development Community information communication technology in government summit, held in Mauritius in May, Microsoft South Africa head David Ives said the centres would act as economic “spark plugs” for local innovators and the local software industry.
Once functional, the centres will provide an estimated 6 000 businesspeople per year with the technology they need to start up their businesses or further their careers.
“The two new local centres will supplement South Africa’s existing centres, at SmartXchange in Durban and the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering in Braamfontein,” he said.
“These new centres will provide a huge boost for skills development in the local technology industry by providing world-class facilities and support programs in innovation, intellectual capital, technology and business skills for start-ups, software developers, IT professionals, government and universities.”
Ives added that Microsoft would ramp up operations in South Africa, especially through the Students to Business (S2B) programme that helps local companies find and hire technology students, while also providing the necessary qualification to qualified candidates.
“Microsoft is further stepping up its skills development efforts by expanding its S2B job enablement programme, which helped more than 1 000 graduates find jobs in its first year in South Africa,” Ives said.
According to the company, the aim of its S2B programme in the country is to ensure that its South African workforce evolves to reflect the country’s diversity, while also providing students with the key competencies they need to excel in their future jobs in the industry.
As the South African workforce evolves to reflect the growing diversity of our community and the global marketplace, Microsoft and its partners’ efforts to empower and grow available IT skills within South Africa is critically important, the Microsoft S2B website says.
“Strong local skills enhance economic growth and employment, promote innovation, and further encourage technological and cultural advances in South Africa.”