Huawei, Microsoft introduces Windows Phone to Africa

Chinese vendor brings a customized version of its Ascend W1 smartphone to the continent, and will launch it later this quarter. This is also part of Microsoft's 4Afrika Initiative to boost the region's competitiveness.

Huawei Technologies is partnering Microsoft to bring its Windows Phone smartphone to Africa, as both companies look to boost mobile accessability and adoption in the continent.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Chinese vendor said it is launching the Huawei 4Afrika handset exclusively for the African region. The device comes with a customized app store with a variety of applications and content whuich are built by Africans for their domestic customers, it noted.

The Huawei 4Afrika device is a customized version of its Ascend W1, which was launched last month at the Consumer Electronics Show. It is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.2 gigahertz processor, and has a 1,730 mAH battery, the company said.

The smartphone will be made available toward the "later part of first quarter 2013" in markets such as Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Angola, Morocco, and South Africa, it added.

Peter Hu, managing director of Huawei Device for Eastern & Southern Africa, said: "By launching the Huawei 4Afrika, we will be bringing leading technology within reach for more people in Africa, thereby giving them access to a world of new opportunities."

Improving Africa's competitiveness
Microsoft's partnership with Huawei is part of its wider Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative--an effort through which the company will actively engage in the region's economic development to improve its global competitiveness.

By 2016, it hopes to place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of young Africans, bring 1 million African small and midsize businesses (SMBs) online, upskill 100,000 of Africa's existing workforce, and help an additional 100,000 recently-graduated workers develop employability skills, it said in a statement Monday

Fernando de Sousa, general manager of the 4Afrika Initiative at Microsoft, said: "The world has recognized the promise of Africa, and Microsoft wants to invest in that promise. The 4Afrika Initiative is built on the dual beliefs that technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world."