Microsoft has announced that they are opening their first Africa Development Centre in two African countries: Kenya and Nigeria.
Their initial sites will be set in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya which will serve as their centre of engineering for Microsoft. This will be a combined $100 million (Kshs 10 billion) investment by Microsoft on the Africa Development Centre over the next five years of operation.
“The Africa Development Centre will be unlike any other existing investment on the continent. It will help us better listen to our customers, develop locally and scale for global impact,” Phil Spencer, Executive Vice President at Microsoft said. “Beyond that, it’s an opportunity to engage further with partners, academia, governments and developers- driving impact in sectors important to the continent, such as FinTech, AfriTech and OffGrid energy.”
Microsoft is seeking engineering talent from across the continent in the quest to innovate in areas around AI, machine learning and mixed reality innovation. The company seeks to recruit 100 full time engineers by the end of the year and will expand to 500 across the two centres by 2023.
Microsoft is also partnering with local universities where graduates will have access to the development centres. They want to create a cloud curriculum totally unique to Africa and graduates will have access to this to have meaningful career in data science, AI, mixed reality, app development and more.
This move follows Microsoft’s announcement of having their first Africa Data Centres in South Africa recently. Other companies like Google also have vested interests in Africa where they opened their first AI Research Centre in Ghana last year.