21 September 2023, New York, USA - The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Microsoft East Africa signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the digital-technology upskilling and reskilling of 5,000 women and youth in sub-Saharan Africa to enhance their employability and livelihoods in the digital economy. The digital up/reskilling and green livelihood programme is funded by the Government and People of Japan and will run until March 2024.

The agreement was signed by Nikhil Seth, Assistant-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UNITAR, and Kate Behncken, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Philanthropies, who also represented Phyllis Migwi, Country Manager, Microsoft East Africa. The signing took place at the sides of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

"Harnessing digital technologies can be vital to creating sustainable growth and development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However many across the world do not readily have the means to acquire the new skills to benefit from the rapid technological advances. Failing to address such disparities leaves us further away from achieving the SDGs. We are delighted to collaborate with Microsoft to support our capacity-building and training programmes on digital skills to women and youth in Africa, to enhance employment opportunities, promote livelihood development in the digital economy, and overall contribute to sustainable development in Africa and beyond.” — Mr Nikhil Seth, UNITAR Executive Director.


Microsoft’s expertise in digital technologies will be combined with UNITAR’s expertise in developing and delivering high-quality learning solutions, knowledge products and services to address pressing development challenges.

"We are thrilled to partner with UNITAR in driving upskilling and capacity-building for women and youth across Africa, Microsoft will provide both digital, sustainability and AI skills training to enhance employment and livelihood opportunities across the continent of Africa and beyond.” Kate Behncken - Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Philanthropies

The collaboration between UNITAR and Microsoft will mobilize resources and deliver training, capacity-development and networking opportunities for women and youth in Africa in digital skills, innovation and entrepreneurship, economic development and the SDGs, women and youth empowerment, content and curriculum development, capacity-building and research, and green livelihoods and technology, as well as other areas relevant to achieving digitally enhanced sustainable development.

“UNITAR will be able to support women and youth in the African region by empowering them with the knowledge, skills, and tools to participate in an ever more digital society. We are excited to formalize our collaboration with Microsoft. Together, we will be able to develop durable solutions, deliver impact at scale, and further engage with our development partners in bringing sustainable prosperity across the African continent.” —Ms. Mihoko Kumamoto, Director, UNITAR Division for Prosperity.

UNITAR, in partnership with the Government and People of Japan, has been working towards reducing inequalities ensuring no one is left behind in Africa and achieving the SDGs and the African Union Agenda 2063. The signing ceremony was attended by Naria Santa Lucia, General Manager, Digital Inclusion and Community Engagement, Microsoft Philanthropies; Kate Barnes, Global Partnerships Manager, Microsoft; and Michael Adalla, Programme Officer, Division for Prosperity, UNITAR.

Registration for the Digital Up/Reskilling Programme

There will be two training programmes – one on digital up/reskilling and on green livelihood - for women and youth in Africa. Registration for the courses is open until October 15, 2023.

  • Developing Essential Digital Skills for Women and Youth in Africa: Enhancing Employment Opportunities and Livelihood Development in the Digital Economy.
  • Developing Green Livelihoods for Women and Youth in Africa: Strengthening Food Security, Supporting Climate Resilient Economies

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