Microsoft has announced plans to open its first development center in Africa.
Over the next five years, the tech giant will spend more than $100 million on the endeavor. The company will open initial offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria, hiring 100 employees by the end of the year. Microsoft will bring a total of 500 new employees on board within four years.
The Africa Development Centre (ADC) “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. 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, AgriTech and OffGrid energy,” said Phil Spencer, executive sponsor of the ADC and executive vice president at Microsoft, in a press release.
The company revealed that it is also partnering with local universities to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum, giving graduates access to the ADC, which will enable them to develop careers in data science, AI, mixed reality, application development and more. The goal is for these graduates to become Microsoft employees.
“Our desire is to recruit exceptional engineering talent across the continent that will build innovative solutions for global impact. This also creates opportunities for engineers to do meaningful work from their home countries, and be plugged into a global engineering and development organization,” said Michael Fortin, corporate vice president at Microsoft and lead in establishing the first ADC engineering team in Nairobi.
Microsoft opened its first office in Africa almost 30 years ago, and launched Microsoft 4Afrika in 2013. The company became the first major cloud provider to give local service to Africa in March, and it expects demand for cloud computing services in Africa to triple over the next few years.