UNITED NATIONS HOSTS LAUNCH OF MICROSOFT AFRICA PROGRAMMES

17 May 2007
AFR/1533-PI/1777

UNITED NATIONS HOSTS LAUNCH OF MICROSOFT AFRICA PROGRAMMES

17 May 2007
Press Release
AFR/1533 PI/1777
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

UNITED NATIONS HOSTS LAUNCH OF MICROSOFT AFRICA PROGRAMMES

NEW YORK, 15 May (United Nations Office for Partnerships) -- The United Nations Office for Partnerships hosted an event to further advance Africa’s partnership strategy on Tuesday.  Participants included several ambassadors to the United Nations, senior Microsoft representatives, foundation and business leaders, including philanthropist Ted Turner, founder of the United Nations Foundation, Louise MacBain, founder of the Louise T. Blouin Foundation, and senior United Nations officials.

Amir Dossal, Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Partnerships, and Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director of Community Affairs, Microsoft Corp., welcomed participants.  Mr. Dossal underscored that public-private partnerships were the key to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  Mr. Badshah explained his long-standing relationship with the United Nations to support the Millennium Development Goals.

Representatives from Microsoft outlined its work with Governments, educators and information technology industry partners in Africa and across the world to provide access to transformational technologies through Microsoft Unlimited Potential.  Microsoft had set an initial goal of reaching 1 billion people who were not yet realizing the benefits of technology by the year 2015.

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro stated that “African development is one of the highest priorities of the United Nations.  We will need to work on many fronts if Africa’s people are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, triumph over poverty and enjoy sustainable peace and well-being.”  She underscored that, “recently, [Microsoft] announced that it is increasing its commitment and investments to bring new social and economic opportunities to developing and emerging segments around the world through Microsoft Unlimited Potential.   Africa will be a key focus for this programme, and we welcome this important effort.  I thank everyone involved in making it possible, and look forward to the positive results it will no doubt bring for the men, women and children of Africa.”  The Deputy Secretary-General noted that she was “delighted that Microsoft is working with the United Nations Office for Partnerships, which is facilitating innovative alliances for the entire UN system.”

Orlando Ayala, Senior Vice-President, Emerging Segments Market Development, Microsoft Corp., detailed Microsoft efforts “to use technology, training and partnerships to help bring sustained social and economic opportunity to the estimated 5 billion people who are not yet realizing the benefits of technology”.  He continued by noting that, “through the expansion of Microsoft Unlimited Potential, the company is renewing and accelerating its long-term commitment to transform education, foster local innovation and enable jobs and opportunities to help give the people of Africa a chance achieve their full potential”.

The United Nations Office for Partnerships serves as a gateway for partnership opportunities with the United Nations family.  It promotes new collaborations and alliances in furtherance of the Millennium Development Goals and provides support to new initiatives of the Secretary-General.  The Office also manages two innovative mechanisms:

-- The United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP), established by the Secretary-General in March 1998 to serve as the interface between the United Nations system and the United Nations Foundation -- the public charity responsible for administering Ted Turner’s $1 billion contribution in support of United Nations causes.  UNFIP concomitantly serves the Foundation and the United Nations funds, programmes and specialized agencies that receive funds from the Foundation.

-- The United Nations Democracy Fund, established by the Secretary-General in July 2005 to reinforce the United Nations work in the promotion of democracy, human rights and the participation of all segments of society in the democratic process.

For more information, contact Camilla Schippa, Chief of Office, United Nations Office for Partnerships at schippa@un.org, tel. 212 963 3441.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.