Microsoft on Thursday, March 24 opened its Africa Development Centre (ADC) facility in Nairobi. The launch was graced by, among others, President Uhuru Kenyatta. Microsoft Corporate Vice President Joy Chik and ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru.
The state-of-the-art facility is located in Dunhill Towers, a high-end corporate building along Waiyaki Way in Nairobi.
The launch came barely two days after Microsoft unveiled a parallel ADC office in Lagos, Nigeria. The Africa Development Centre, Microsoft’s first engineering offices in Africa, has been in the pipeline since 2019 when it was announced.
It focuses on empowering African developers and engineers to build tech-driven solutions for challenges on the continent while also offering global scalability. The program also aims to create employment opportunities in the IT sector and drive innovation.
For the project, Microsoft has been looking for talented developers with one eye on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Internet of Things (IoT).
Microsoft ADC Nairobi Managing Director Jack Ngare disclosed that the facility in Nairobi had 450 full-time employees. It will serve the East African region and houses engineering, design, research, and innovation teams.
“The facility will continue our efforts towards training, equipping and hiring engineering talent in Kenya and Africa as whole to contribute to the development of Microsoft products that are in use by over 1 billion devices and empowering millions of users and organizations across the world to do more,” Ngare stated.
The facility was built in line with Microsoft’s global standards as it looks to become carbon negative by 2030. It includes self-heating windows, a mini solar plant to power the facility and a water treatment facility to recycle and purify the water.
The facility will also play host to Microsoft Garage, an incubation hub intended to help scale African innovations. Microsoft employees, interns, schools, and community groups will be able to collaborate to launch products and learn various skills.
“The Garage in Kenya will help Microsoft employees, customers and developers tap into their creative prowess to come up with cutting edge technologies that will solve the problems we have in the world today. I can’t wait to see the next big thing coming out of Africa,’’ stated Lydia Karanja, The Garage lead.
“The Garage is meant to spread the values of openness and collaboration throughout the Microsoft ADC, where people come to The Garage to work with interdisciplinary teams on passion projects that sometimes make their way into Microsoft products – this should ultimately allow Microsoft ADC to become a more prominent shaper of Africa’s tech culture,” she continued.