Africa: Comesa Signs MoU With Microsoft
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with global technology group, Microsoft, in a bid to collaborate in areas of access to technology and enhancement of trade in the region.
COMESA through its business council and Microsoft took a step towards strengthening their working alliance by signing the MOU, which sets out how they will collaborate in areas of access to technology, development of relevant skills and fostering of innovation in COMESA's 19 Member States.
COMESA's Secretary General Mr Sindiso Ngwenya said the MoU will promote access to technology to Member States based on a Trusted Cloud Infrastructure that focuses on the secure deployment of modern IT operations.
"Business technology has revolutionised the way countries and firms conduct business. We are in an age where the planning processes of organisations is through instruments and solutions that promote quality management, and respond to age --old constraints of time limitations and high costs of operations," said Mr Ngwenya.
This is in line with the Microsoft for Africa Initiative's three core focus areas, (World-class skills, Access and Innovation).
It is also expected that the collaboration will accelerate and promote the adoption of innovative high speed low-cost connectivity initiatives.
The collaboration will also encourage the use of cloud technologies through the adoption of important enabling policies in the areas of cyber-security, data privacy and data protection.
"Through Microsoft's 4Afrika Initiative, we have been working to increase regional trade and the growth of the knowledge economy in Africa," said Mr Antony Cook, Associate General Counsel, Legal and Corporate Affairs Microsoft, Middle East and Africa.
"Through influential partnerships, such as the one with COMESA, we aim to scale across the region further to impact not just thousands, but millions," he said.
The collaboration is further expected to focus on fostering innovation across the COMESA region by promoting the value and protection of Intellectual Property.
It will also encourage development of e-Government solutions that will facilitate, simplify and stimulate investment and trade across the COMESA region, to save on time and the cost of complying with business governance and regulations.
This collaboration fits squarely with COMESA's mandate and demonstrates the commitment to promote common interests for economic development in the region.
"Through this collaboration, we will bring policy makers and businesses together and empower them to take advantage of the cloud-first, mobile-first world.
"With the right policies and regulations in place, people will be encouraged to use cloud technology, develop their own IP and ultimately participate in trade and e-commerce across borders.
"With innovative e-Government services, citizens and businesses will benefit from safe online transactions, open borders, efficiency and increased foreign investment," said Mr Cook.
The implementation of the MoU will be the responsibility of the COMESA Business Council, as the voice of the private sector in the region.
Source: The Herald 6 November 2015