The Microsoft Airband initiative has confirmed a new partnership that will help 46 Least Developed Countries (LDC). Specifically, Microsoft will collaborate with Liquid Intelligent Technologies to bring broadband internet to 20 million more people in Africa.
Liquid Intelligent Technologies is the biggest independent fiber network operator in Africa. With Microsoft Airband, the companies will offer the expansion by 2025. As part of the agreement, broadband internet will come to countries such as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The deal was announced by Microsoft President Brad Smith, who said:
“Fifty years after the LDCs were classified by the UN as nations most in need of social, economic, and environmental opportunities to create growth, these 46 countries combined account for 13% of the world’s population, but only about 1.5% of global GDP and less than 1% of global trade. It is clear that more needs to be done.”
Airband was formed in 2017 that aims to bring high speed internet to underdeveloped communities around the world. To do so, the company is making use of a variety of technologies, including TV white spaces. These frequencies have been assigned to television broadcast but are going unused, and can instead be used to provide broadband.
Microsoft also says it is launching a new skilling project in partnership with the International Organizations of Employees and Synapse. This initiative will focus on training 20,000 women and young people in business and digital skills. Microsoft says this project will be available in four countries in Africe:
“The private sector can play an important role in creating opportunities for the 880 million people living in LDCs, where only 36% of the population uses the internet today, and it’s important for Microsoft to do its part. The need for public-private partnerships has never been clearer. This is not a philanthropic exercise, but rather a business imperative – And a call to action for all of us to do more.”
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