Microsoft expands investment in Africa with $100 million initial sites in Kenya and Nigeria

Microsoft has announced an expansive push of its investments across Africa with the opening of a $100 million Africa Development Centre (ADC) in Kenya and Nigeria. The new sites will serve as a Centre of Engineering for Microsoft.

In line with its mission to support African talent and innovation, Microsoft will recruit 100 full-time engineers by the end of 2019, and 500 engineers across the two sites by the end of 2023. The company is looking to engage engineering talents in areas such cloud services which use AI, machine learning and mixed reality innovation.

In a statement published on its website, the company says that the ADC will be unlike any other existing investment on the continent. According to Microsoft, it will help them to better listen to their customers, develop locally and scale for global impact. “Beyond that, it’s an opportunity to engage further with African partners, academia, governments and developers – driving impact and innovation in sectors important to Africa.”

The company said it is also partnering with local universities where graduates will have access to the development centres. They intend to create a cloud curriculum totally unique to Africa and grant access to graduates to help them develop a meaningful career in data science, AI, mixed reality, app development and more. Over the next five years, the company will spend more than $100 million on these development centres in Africa.

This announcement follows Microsoft’s announcement of having its first Africa Data Centers in South Africa in March 2019. Africa has a vast potential for innovation in the digitisation age, which is why other companies like Google also have vested interests in the continent. Last year, Google opened its first AI Research Center in Ghana.

Cloud tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Huawei are pushing for a spot on the African market and plan to take advantage of growing telecommunications infrastructure and work in areas like e-commerce and mobile payments. Cloud rival, Amazon, is also opening a data centre in Africa next year.

Microsoft has been partnering with and looking for cloud customers in Africa. With a network of over 10,000 local partners – and a nearly 30-year history of operating on the continent – the new datacentres form part of Microsoft’s ongoing investment to enable digital transformation across Africa.

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