PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

Microsoft and G42 Team on $1 Billion Kenya Data Center

Microsoft and AI company G42 have teamed to build a $1 billion Kenya-based data center.

The collaboration, according to a Wednesday (May 22) news release, marks the largest digital investment in the history of the African nation, and will see the two companies join forces to create a new cloud region in East Africa.

The companies say they are set to formalize their relationship during Kenyan President William Ruto’s state visit to the U.S. this week.

“This partnership is bigger than technology itself. It is about coming together of three countries with a common vision of a nation empowered by technology, where every citizen has the opportunity to thrive in the global digital landscape,” Rufo said in a news release. “It’s about building a future where Kenya flourishes as a digital leader.”

According to the release, G42, in an effort to “support national economic growth and development and support Kenya’s unique cultural and linguistic needs,” has begun training an open-source large language artificial intelligence (AI) model in Swahili and English.

In addition, Microsoft’s AI for Good Lab in Nairobi will use AI to work with nonprofits and other partners to help address economic and societal priorities in East Africa, like using the technology to make “site-specific fertilizer recommendations that increase agricultural productivity while minimizing environmental impacts.”

Microsoft announced last month it was investing $1.5 billion in Dubai-based G42, with the two companies pledging to work together to bring “advanced AI and digital infrastructure” to countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.

This week, the company hosted its yearly Build conference, unveiling a host of new AI features and development tools that underlined “the tech giant’s commitment to AI across its product lines,” as PYMNTS wrote.

“We’re riding an extraordinary platform wave,” said Kevin Scott, Microsoft’s chief technology officer and executive vice president of AI, comparing AI’s transformative potential to the advent of personal computers and broadband internet. “We are nowhere near … how powerful we can make AI models.”

CEO Satya Nadella kicked off the event by showcasing the company’s recent progress in AI, including the introduction of new Arm-powered “Copilot Plus PCs” with advanced AI capabilities built directly into Windows 11. These devices employ Microsoft’s new Windows Copilot Runtime, which includes over 40 AI models.

“Windows is the most open platform for AI,” said Pavan Davuluri, Microsoft’s Windows and Surface chief.