Not too long after opening Africa’s first hyper-scale data centers in two cities (Cape Town and Johannesburg) in South Africa to give faster access to its Azure Cloud services in the region, Microsoft is expanding its reach by launching two development centers in the continent.
Microsoft calls it the “African Development Center” says it plans a $100 million investment spend within the first five (5) years of operation. Microsoft African Development Center (ADC hereinafter) will have sites in Nairobi, Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria for a start. In these regions additionally, Microsoft intends to collaborate with local partners, government, and universities to hire hundreds of engineering talents and create modern cloud technology curriculums unique to the African ecosystem.
Ultimately (and primarily), Microsoft wants to create cutting-edge solutions to local and global impact at large.
“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 organisation.”Michael Fortin, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft and the lead in establishing the first ADC engineering team in Nairobi
While a number of engineers have already been hired, Microsoft says it will employ 100 full-time developers with plans to increase its talent pool to 500 engineers by 2023. The company also highlights that it’d kickstart ADC operations with a focus on machine learning, mixed reality, and AI-enabled cloud services to create solutions in sectors like financial technology, off-grid energy, healthcare, agriculture and more.
This move by Microsoft is not only a win for the company (as it stands to gain more cloud customers in Africa ahead of its rivals), the developer ecosystem in Africa also stand to gain a lot in terms of global opportunities and talent advancement. However, with news of Huawei and Amazon also planning to launch cloud technology investments in the continent this year or next, Africa —at large— seem to be the biggest winner; its space on the global tech atlas as a talent and innovation hub only just got bigger.
The Microsoft ADC launch event in Nigeria is scheduled for May 17, 2019.