UNDP’s Entrepreneurship Development Program in Ethiopia has partnered with Microsoft East Africa under Microsoft’s4Africa program to train and mentor 200,000 entrepreneurs in the country. This is the first time that training and mentorship of entrepreneurs on such a large scale will take place on the continent. 

Microsoft brings to the partnership a deep understanding on how to provide education, ICT skills, and curriculum for developing countries. While UNDP offers vast experience in building nations that can withstand crisis and fostering sustainable growth. Ethiopia is the place for a program of this kind firstly because the median age of the country is 16.8 years, which means majority of the country’s work force is young and they should contribute to creating employment for their peers. Additionally they have recorded economic growth of 7%, among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopia is not a perfect nation, none exists on the planet but it is stable and real innovation that could influence the whole continent can take place within its borders.

The statement revealed that as part of the agreement with UNDP Microsoft would supply Senior Executive volunteers to:Provide support, including mentoring entrepreneurs on strategy and marketing, support the best innovators and nominate them for the 4Afrika Innovation Grant Award, provide access to Microsoft BizSpark, a global program that provides free software to startup entrepreneurs and in future, help entrepreneurs exchange products and service and gain global recognition through the Microsoft Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) portal.

UNDP and Microsoft have a strong track record of working well together. They have collaborated previously on projects to promote the eradication of poverty, sustainable development, the rule of law and good governance. There is honestly no reason why this wonderful initiative should not succeed. 

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