Microsoft has launched two Africa Development Centres (ADC) in Nairobi, Kenya and another in Lagos, Nigeria to recruit world-class African engineering talent to develop innovative solutions that span the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.
The $100 center aims to increase Microsoft’s presence in Africa to empower partners and customers as they use Microsoft solutions in fields important to the continent like FinTech, AgriTech and OffGrid energy.
“The ADC will help us better listen to our customers, develop locally and scale for global impact,” says Phil Spencer, executive sponsor of the ADC and executive vice president at Microsoft. “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.”
For the ADC, 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. Applications are open on the ADC website.
Microsoft is also partnering with local universities to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum, unique to Africa. 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.”
The investment in ADC infrastructure and employment of qualified local engineers across the two ADC sites is expected to total US $100 million over the first five years of operation.
Microsoft is already empowering many Kenyan innovations at the edge, with partners like Interswitch, energy start-up M-KOPA, fintech start-up MoVAS Group, agritech start-up N-Frnds, and Virtual City, a key partner across all areas,” continues Haileleul.
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Kenya is also a recent AI for Earth grant recipient.
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.