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Microsoft and Huawei announced today that they’re partnering to bring a new Windows Phone to Africa. The two companies are targeting the continent, which is one of the fastest growing technology markets in the world but has seen few smartphones to date and whose majority of users still rely on feature phones.

The phone, called the Huawei 4Afrika, is the first in a series of smart devices being custom developed for the continent and released as part of Microsoft’s sweeping new 4Afrika Initiative, which also kicked off today. Designed specifically as an affordable option for students, small businesses, developers, and first-time smartphone owners, the Huawei 4Afrika with Windows Phone 8 will make its debut later this month in seven countries: Angola, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa. As you can see from these shots, it’s not only affordable but stylish—available in blue, red, black, and white.

Huawei 4Afrika is similar to the Ascent W1, which Huawei debuted at CES. It has a 4-inch 480 x 800 display, dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor, front- and rear-facing cameras, and 4GB of internal storage. The device is available in blue, red, black, and whiteThe phone also comes preloaded with custom apps created by African developers for African consumers and feature a market-specific store within the larger Windows Phone Store for downloading locally-relevant apps and content.

“We believe there has never been a better time to invest in Africa and that access to technology—particularly cloud services and smart devices—can and will serve as a great accelerator for African competitiveness,president of Microsoft International Jean-Philippe Courtois said today in a statement.

Besides giving users access to apps, the smartphone is also expected to be one of the primary ways that people will be able to access the Internet. The smartphone is intended for middle-income users, such as students, small-business owners, and developers. According to The New York Times, it will cost $150.

Credit: CNET