In a press statement released Monday, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) announced that it will this month introduce the Huawei 4Afrika phone, a Windows Phone 8 device developed with Chinese telecom company Huawei and designed to increase the adoption of smart devices in Africa. The phone will come preloaded with a number of Africa-specific apps and will be sold in select African nations later in February, including Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.
The two companies are looking to secure a piece of one of the world's fastest-growing regions; Africa has about 1 billion people. Microsoft and Huawei intend for middle-income users to purchase the device, with the intention of the 4Afrika becoming one of the primary means of African citizens to access the Internet. The companies said the 4Afrika phone will be targeted toward university students, developers, and first-time smartphone users.
The smartphone comes as part of Microsoft's 4Afrika initiative to bolster Africa's competitiveness. The initiative's general manager, Fernando de Sousa, said in Microsoft's release, "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."