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Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Tech: Microsoft is committing $100m over 4 years to hiring 500 engineers resident in Africa

Last week Friday, Microsoft officially opened its Africa Development Centre through which it plans to invest $100 million, over the course of 4 years, into recruiting world-class African engineering talent.
Only the 7th of its kind globally (Microsoft maintains six other such development centres across Europe, Asia and the Middle-East), the Africa Development Centre (ADC) will initially be housed within existing Microsoft offices in both Lagos and Nairobi, with future plans to expand into purpose-built locations.
The plan is to recruit 100 full-time engineers, by the end of 2019, and increase that number to 500 by the end of 2023.
It is quite an ambitious and unprecedented move by Microsoft, which is now arguably the first global tech giant to recruit for software engineering roles in Africa. Prior to now, the presence of global tech giants on the continent has been largely limited to sales, marketing, policy and communication teams. But not anymore.
Microsoft has already recruited 29 full-time engineers — 19 in Kenya, 10 in Nigeria — who are already working from the ADC.
According to Microsoft Technical Fellow for AI and Mixed Reality, Alex Kipman who will lead the team, everyone they’ve hired (and will hire) is capable of building scalable services and has knowledge of either Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality or Artificial Intelligence.
This is important because the core focus of the ADC will be on cloud-based solutions for Microsoft’s Azure Mixed Reality services. It is no coincidence that just 2 months earlier, Microsoft pulled possibly another first, with the launch of two (Azure-based) data centres in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa.
The new recruits were sourced from academia and the workforce, with varying degrees of experience and proficiency. While a sizeable number of them are local talent, some of them are Africans who have chosen to relocate home. One of the Lagos hires, Kipman admits, is actually a non-African who was quite enthusiastic about contributing to the Lagos team. Read more.....


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