Louis Otieno, director of Microsoft 4Afrika - a strategic initiative by Microsoft focused on supporting Africa's development towards global competitiveness - is set to host a round table on Monday March 31 at the EU Africa Business Summit in Brussels, Belgium.
Together with Amrote Abdella, director of Venture Capital and Start-ups at Microsoft Africa Initiatives, the two will lead discussions on the role of private-public partnerships (PPPs) in bringing e-learning to rural Africa at the session called "Creating partnerships to bring e-schools to rural Africa: Offering incubator-backed seed and early stage funding".
The talks will focus on Microsoft's "TV White Spaces" which enables high-speed, low-cost broadband access into the un-served rural Africa. A pilot project has already been deployed in Kenya in partnership with ministry of ICT and local ISP Indigo Telecom. The project is called Mawingu - Swahili for cloud - and is the first deployment of solar-powered BTS to deliver high-speed internet access to areas outside the national electricity grid.
The e-schools to rural Africa will be part of the 12 theme-based parallel Roundtables set up according to the interests of the business community. The Roundtables, organized on a voluntary basis, have private sector representatives or business groups and consist of 1 Chair and 2 Co-Chair who organize the roundtables, draft concept notes, identify 30 invitees to the roundtable and nominate one "success story". The chair and co-chair also manage the debates and present recommendations.
The 12 roundtables cover a large spectrum of business interests, covering areas such as sustainable energy, agribusiness, infrastructure, SME financing, social entrepreneurship, health and pharmaceuticals, raw materials, ICT in education and in agri-business. Roundtables will have in common concerns about sustainability and inclusiveness, as well as a focus on SMEs. In addition, themes are defined with the quest for concrete results in mind.
The 5th EU-Africa Business Forum - set to run from March 31 to April 1, 2014 - is being hosted on the occasion of the IVth Africa-EU Summit by the EU Commission Vice-President, Antonio Tajani, together with Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Commissioner Karel de Gucht.