Global perspective Human stories

Uganda: UN agency and Microsoft team up to assist rural businesses

Uganda: UN agency and Microsoft team up to assist rural businesses

The UN body tasked with promoting sustainable industry unveiled a joint project with Microsoft today to support rural Ugandan enterprises through technology.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) “greatly values the commitment and resources brought through partnership with the private sector,” said Kandeh Yumkella, the agency’s Director-General.

The project, launched in Kampala, aims to support micro, small and medium-sized Ugandan businesses through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Six District Business Information Centres will provide rural businesses and those who operate them with integrated solutions, instruction in technology and entrepreneurial skills, and Internet access. The second phase of the project will increase the number of these centres to eight.

Microsoft has extensively researched rural computing in India and will now apply its knowledge in Uganda. “With this programme,” said Cheick Diarra, Microsoft’s Chairman for Africa, “we are able to make ICT and skills available to adults and young unemployed Africans who want to start a business.”

This combined effort between the Vienna-based UNIDO and Microsoft also seeks to increase the participation of women in rural enterprises through ICT and business management training.