Ethiopian-born Amrote Abdella has been announced as the new regional director for Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative, effective October 2015.
Previously the director of Startup Engagement and Partnerships at 4Afrika, she takes over from Fernando de Sousa and affirms Microsoft Corp.’s commitment to Africa across the 54 countries.
In her new role, Abdella will oversee Microsoft’s investments in Africa, deepen Microsoft’s engagements on the continent and scale 4Afrika’s work across different markets.
“At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and organisation on the planet to do more,” Abdella said.
“The 4Afrika Initiative is perfectly aligned to accelerate this for the African continent through locally relevant innovation, affordable access and skills development.”
Launched in February 2013, the 4Afrika Initiative has grown to empower over 273,000 small to medium-size enterprises, 76,000 youth, 20,000 government employees, and nine innovation hubs with access to technology, resources and world-class skills development.
“Creativity is what I love most about working in Africa and is what I hope to continue to help unlock and ignite across the continent — to see Africans not just being empowered by technology but also building innovative solutions relevant for our markets,” Abdella said.
“We are honoured to have Amrote serving as the new regional director for the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative,” said Ali Faramawy, corporate vice president for Microsoft Middle East & Africa.
“Having worked with the initiative since its launch in 2013, Amrote has a deep understanding of both the continent and 4Afrika’s mission. Her wealth of firsthand, on-the-ground experience with startups, investors, government bodies and nonprofit organisations has given her insight into the exact challenges and opportunities we’re focusing on through 4Afrika. We are confident in her ability to move the initiative forward and refocus our efforts.”
Before joining Microsoft, Abdella worked for, among others, the World Economic Forum, the World Bank Group, the Hunger Project and the Grameen Foundation. In her experience she has focused on financial services, policy guidance and economic development for Africa.
Abdella holds a B.A. in political science from Davidson College in North Carolina, and an M.A. in international economics development from Brandeis University in Massachusetts.