Microsoft, an American multinational technology firm headquartered in Washington, plans to spend more than $100 million over five years to open its first development centres in Africa, a feat it plans to achieve by working with local partners and governments, as well as hire engineers.
According to the tech firm, the initial sites will be situated in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, and Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub. The company said it plans to hire 100 full time developers at the two sites by the end of 2019 and expand to 500 by the end of 2023.
Microsoft revealed that it plans to use the sites to recruit African engineers to work in areas such as cloud services, which use artificial intelligence and applications for mixed reality, where customers use goggles to project 3-D images on to the real world.
Cloud technology companies like Microsoft, Amazon.com and Huawei Technologies are looking to expand in Africa to take advantage of growing telecommunications infrastructure and work in areas like e-commerce and mobile payments.
Microsoft has been partnering and looking for cloud customers in Africa where it has opened data centres in South Africa.
The company said it is working with Kenyan and Nigerian companies in areas like financial technology, energy and agriculture.
Amazon, whose Amazon Web Services is larger than Microsoft’s Azure, is also opening a data centre in Africa in 2020.