Kenya internet and mobile use penetration stands at more than 100%, statistics that continue to attract investors Microsoft being one. The renowned company known for its Windows operating system, launched its first Africa Development Centre (ADC) on the continent, with an initial site in Nairobi, Kenya and another in Lagos, Nigeria. The centre, which is Microsoft’s 7th globally, is recruiting world-class African engineering, talent to develop innovative solutions that span the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. Currently, the centre has absorbed 19 employees from Kenya with an aim to recruit 100 engineers by the end of the year and up to 500 more by 2023.
The ADC investment worth 100 million USD will revolutionize the digital space enabling digital transformation and bridging gaps in infrastructure, connectivity and capability to accelerate innovation. In addition to this, create a sustained societal impact on the continent.
“The ADC will be unlike any other existing investment on the continent. It will help us listen to our customers, develop locally and scale for global impact,” says Phil Spencer Executive sponsor of the ADC and Executive vice president at Microsoft. “Beyond that, it’s an opportunity to engage more with local partners, academia, governments and developers driving impact and innovation in sectors important to Africa.”
During the launch, Microsoft announced that unlike any other competitor they will focus on helping students build 21st-century skillset (Artificial Intelligence, mixed reality, machine learning) as well as support local game developers with tools they need to develop games with an African narrative.
“Our desire is to recruit exceptional engineering talent and provide the opportunity to work on the latest technologies suitable for Kenya and the rest of the world,” says Michael Fortin, corporate vice president at Microsoft and the lead in establishing the first ADC engineering team in Nairobi. “In doing so, engineers are able to enjoy meaningful work from their home countries, while plugged into a global engineering and development organisation.”
Microsoft has been operating in the continent for more than 21 years building partners like Interswitch, M-KOPA, Fintech start-up Movas group, Agritech start-up N-Frnds, and Virtual City.
“The International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Kenya is also a recent AI for Earth grant recipient, which is using a Microsoft AI-powered diagnostic model to predict and prevent a nutrition crisis before it occurs,” says Haileleul.
Microsoft cognition and Microsoft Windows team will kickstart ADC efforts, focusing on AI enabled cloud services, mixed reality experiences and rich applications that power the intelligent edge without disruption.
“We are building an Ecosystem driven by data and technology that provides millions of businesses and individuals with intuitive transaction solutions and payment experiences,” says Mitchell Elegbe, founder and group CEO of interswitch. “Microsoft is a partner whose vision aligns with ours as we scale payment innovation across Africa. Both organizations provide infrastructure and technology that makes life easier for our customers, and we are using a variety of cutting-edge Microsoft solutions, not only to power our enterprise software stack but also in application with specific use cases like blockchain-based remittances,” she continued.
With a vision to empower every organization in the planet to achieve more, through fields like Fintech, Agritech and OffGrid energy, increased Microsoft presence in Africa will empower partners and customers as they use Microsoft solutions to solve some of Africa’s most challenging financial and logistic problems.
“We are excited to drive innovations like this from the ADC,” says Haileleul.
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