Microsoft seeks to tap Kenya’s innovative talent

From right, Phil Spencer, Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft and Michael Fortin, Vice President Cosine Data and Intelligence at the launch. [File, Standard]

Microsoft last week launched the first Africa Development Centre (ADC), with its first two sites in Kenya and Nigeria. The centre will be a hub of engineering for the global giant, and will likely prove to be a game-changer for the tech industry in Kenya.

This is because Kenyans will not only have access to, but also be at the forefront of creating innovative solutions relevant locally and abroad. It is a development that is expected to place Kenya firmly on the map of destinations for the latest in tech.

Microsoft has already hired 19 full-time Kenyan employees to kick-start the process, and intends to have 100 staff by the end of the year. The expectation is to expand to 500 full-time engineers within three years.

The combined expected investment across the two sites will be Sh10 billion over the first five years of operation.

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ADC is only Microsoft’s seventh development centre in the world.

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

“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.”

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Speaking at the official launch in Nairobi on Tuesday, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Michael Fortin said they appreciated the innovative spirit in Kenya, which is what they are leveraging on for the centre.

“We work by interacting with our customers and the markets that we serve. That is how we find the next innovative new things to do,” he said.

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