NAIROBI (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp will invest $100 million to open an Africa technology development centre with sites in Kenya and Nigeria over the next five years, the company said on Tuesday.
Global tech giants, including Alphabet Inc and Facebook, have been increasing investment on the continent in recent years to take advantage of growing economies with rising access rates to the internet by a youthful population.
Microsoft will hire more than 100 local engineers to work in the new Africa facility in both countries to customise its applications for the African market and to develop new ones for the continent and beyond, it said in a statement.
“In addition, it is an opportunity to collaborate with partners, academia, governments and developers, driving impact and innovation in sectors important to the continent,” the company said, citing financial technology, farming technology and off grid energy.
Engineers at the new Africa development centre will build applications using artificial intelligence, mixed reality and machine learning, Microsoft said.
The company already has six other development hubs located elsewhere in the world. The new Africa development hub will also support Microsoft’s established businesses such as Office, Azure and Windows, the company said.
Reporting by Duncan Miriri, editing by Louise Heavens