Microsoft has launched its 7th global US $100 million Development Centre in Africa with a site in Nairobi, Kenya as well as Lagos, Nigeria.  The Africa Development Centre (ADC) will afford Kenyan talent the opportunity to work on cutting-edge technology suitable for Kenya and the rest of the world, reinforcing the country’s position as a leading regional digital innovation hub.

Microsoft is seeking engineering talent in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and mixed reality. With the initial team of engineers already starting work, the ADC intends to recruit 100 full-time engineers by the end of 2019 – expanding to 500 across the two sites by 2023.

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“The 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,”  Phil Spencer, executive sponsor of the ADC and executive vice president at Microsoft said. “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.”

To support the development of these required skills, Microsoft is also partnering with local universities to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum, unique to Africa. The company says graduates from top Kenyan engineering universities will have access to the ADC to build relevant and meaningful careers in data science, AI, mixed reality, application development and more.

“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 Cognition and Microsoft Windows teams will kick-start the ADC efforts, focusing on AI-enabled cloud services, mixed reality experiences and rich applications that power the intelligent edge without disruption.

“Microsoft recently opened its first hyper-scale datacentres in Africa, and this next milestone is particularly significant for Kenya,” Sebuh Haileleul, country manager for Microsoft East Africa said. “The reason we selected Kenya as the first ADC site is to better understand a continent that is rapidly adopting cloud technology and innovation at the intelligent edge. We view Kenya as a leading regional digital innovation hub, and the ADC aims to invest in and accelerate the work being done here.”

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