Microsoft has recruited a handful of female engineers to work in its new Africa Development Centre (ADC) in Kenya.
This recruitment is an effort for the company to bolster its support for local women in ICT.
In June, ADC Nairobi hosted its first LEAP hackathon for 26 female developers.
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The hackathon challenged participants to design creative solutions in AgriTech and FinTech using cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
This was followed by the expansion of the Cloud Accelerator Programme for women-led firms into Kenya.
Also, the launch of the Women in Software Engineering (WISE) Mentoring Programme was part of the expansion.
WISE4Afrika is currently mentoring a select group of female software and engineering students from Strathmore University.
They offer both virtual and in-person coaching and experiential learning opportunities over a period of nine months.
Participants are encouraged to use emerging technologies to build solutions and publish them on app stores, to open-source, participate in hackathons, and submit proposals for papers at conferences.
According to the Global Gender Gap 2018 report, only 22 per cent of AI professionals globally are female as compared to 78 per cent who are male.
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The report argues that it is of critical importance to reverse this trajectory now and promote diverse talent.
Economic opportunities created by AI do not increase existing gender inequalities, but rather serve the needs of society at large, argues the report.
Programmes like WISE4Afrika are exposing more women to mentorship from female engineers, executives, educators and entrepreneurs.
A culture where more women are attracted to STEM and see themselves having careers in the ICT industry is created.
More about Microsoft 4Afrika
Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge.
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Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
The 4Afrika Initiative is Microsoft’s business and market development engine in Africa.
Launched in 2013, it aims to unlock and accelerate Africa’s potential to create technology not only for the continent but for the world.
The initiative focuses on developing world-class skills, access and innovation.
Microsoft started investing in start-ups, partners, small-to-medium enterprises, governments and youth on the African continent.
WISE4Afrika is a manifestation of Mentors across Borders, an initiative created by women technology leaders at the Microsoft India Development Centre, in collaboration with Microsoft Kenya.