Microsoft Corp will invest $100 million to open an Africa technology development centre with sites in Kenya and Nigeria over the next five years, the company said on Tuesday.
“The future of the world in terms of labour work force is here in Africa and we started working about infrastructure that is needed in order to untap that opportunity, and give the opportunity for all the African countries in order to do the bridging in the details cap. So one of the things we created is first we announced, like two months ago, a full data centre in South Africa that creates infrastructure,” said Jaime Galviz, Microsoft’s COO and CMO for the Middle East and Africa.
Global tech giants, including Alphabet Inc and Facebook, have been increasing investment on the continent in recent years to take advantage of growing economies with rising access rates to the internet by a youthful population.
Microsoft will hire more than 100 local engineers to work in the new Africa facility in both countries to customize its applications for the African market and to develop new ones for the continent and beyond, it said in a statement.
“From a dollar stand point we are talking about 100 million dollars investment, between infrastructure and people. But the most important part is not about that, it is the ripple effect we will create in the eco-system, with the university, with the governments and with the startups. For every person there will be many working in internship programs, in development programs that we will be able to enable for the local economy and that is where we care the most,” Galviz added.
Engineers at the new Africa development centre will build applications using artificial intelligence, mixed reality and machine learning, Microsoft said.
The company already has six other development hubs located elsewhere in the world. The new Africa development hub will also support Microsoft’s established businesses such as Office, Azure and Windows, the company said.