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Microsoft opens $100 million Africa Development Centres in Lagos, Nairobi

14 May 2019, 01:40 pm
Financial Nigeria
Microsoft opens $100 million Africa Development Centres in Lagos, Nairobi

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African engineers will be recruited at the ADC to work on artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning and mixed reality.

Microsoft, the third American company to surpass the $1 trillion market capitalization, has launched the Africa Development Centre (ADC), with two initial sites in Nairobi, Kenya, and Lagos, Nigeria. The ADC is part of Microsoft’s Global Development Centre.

In the first five years of their operations, Microsoft plans to spend more than $100 million on the centres in Lagos and Nairobi. African engineers will be recruited to work on artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning and mixed reality. Up to 100 full-time developers are expected to be hired by the end of the year and by 2023, Microsoft expects to increase the number of full-time developers at the centres to 500.

“Our desire is to recruit exceptional engineering talents across the continent that will build innovative solutions for global impact,” said Michael Fortin, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Lead in setting up the first engineering team at the Nairobi centre. “This also creates opportunities for engineers to do meaningful work from their home countries and be plugged into a global engineering and development organisation.”

Microsoft, in a statement released on Monday, said it is partnering with local universities to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud computing curriculum unique to Africa through the ADC. “The ADC will help us to better listen to our customers, develop locally and scale for global impact,” said Phil Spencer, Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft and Sponsor of the ADC. “Beyond that, it is an opportunity to engage further with partners, academia, governments and developers driving impact in sectors important to the continent, such as Fintech, Agritech and Off-grid energy.”

In Africa, Microsoft already empowers innovations with partners such as Interswitch, SunCulture and M-KOPA. Through the ADC, it intends to invest in more cutting-edge solutions suitable for Kenya, Nigeria and the rest of the world. About three decades ago, the first Microsoft’s office in Africa was opened.

This year, Microsoft became the first major cloud services provider to have a data centre in Africa by opening hyper-scale data centres in South Africa in March. According to the statement, demand for cloud services is expected to triple over the next few years and the availability of local data centres and cloud services could initiate a startup boom across the continent.

Cloud technology companies, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Huawei, are increasingly expanding to Africa. Last year, AWS announced plans to open its first data centre in Africa in the first half of 2020. The centre will be located in South Africa.

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