Microsoft has launched its first Africa Development Centre (ADC) in Africa, with an initial site in Nairobi, Kenya and another in Lagos, Nigeria. The centre, which is Microsoft’s 7th globally will recruit African software engineers who will be tasked with developing innovative solutions that span the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. Increased Microsoft presence in Africa will empower partners and customers as they use Microsoft solutions in fields important to the continent like FinTech, AgriTech and OffGrid energy.

For the ADC, Microsoft is seeking software 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. To join ADC, software engineers can apply here

To support the development of these required skills, Microsoft will partner will partner with Kenyan 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.

“The launch of AppFactory and Microsoft Imagine Academy at USIU-Africa has seen a significant reduction in the competency gap between ICT graduates across Africa, by equipping students with high-level skills in designing, developing, implementing and managing modern software solutions. USIU-Africa looks forward to more infrastructural collaboration with Microsoft to establish itself as a high-performance computing academy developing modern software solutions,” says Dr. Patrick Wamuyu, head of department – Computing at USIU-Africa.

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 has operated on the continent for more than 25 years, building partnerships to bridge the gaps in infrastructure, connectivity and capability to accelerate innovation. Microsoft 4Afrika, Microsoft’s business and market development engine on the continent, is preparing the market to embrace cloud technology. The programme has upskilled more than 1.6 million Africans and brought more than 700,000 small and medium-sized businesses online, and connected schools, universities and healthcare clinics to the internet for the first time.

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.