Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled the Microsoft Africa Development Centre on Thursday evening, expressing optimism that the facility will help the government obtain high-tech jobs in the digital arena for the country’s youth.
President Kenyatta described the Microsoft facility as a “seminal development” that validates international awareness of Kenya’s substantial high-tech worker capabilities, commercial prospects, and favourable investment climate.
“As a premier centre of research and development for Microsoft, we all remain confident that you – together with our young men and women – will build a local world class talent and create innovative technological solutions that will yield global positive impacts.
“As technology takes centre stage in the global economy and as the way we conduct business evolves before our very own eyes, tonight we are again shattering yet another glass ceiling and once again cementing Kenya’s place as Africa’s leading technology powerhouse,” President Kenyatta said.
The facility is one of Africa’s largest software engineering centres, and it serves as a model for a new generation of technological centres across the continent.
Microsoft has also teamed with local colleges and start-ups to give training and skills to generate job opportunities for over 200,000 young Kenyans in support of the digital economy, he said, adding that the business has been a strong and true partner to Kenya since its establishment.
The benefits of the mutually beneficial partnership between the Government and the Microsoft company, according to the President, include the creation of 431 full-time jobs for Kenyans in the fields of software development, program management, technical design, content writing, operations, research, and applied science.
Kenyatta praised Microsoft for assisting the development centre’s adoption of green energy and sustainability solutions, which include self-heating windows, a micro solar plant to power the facility, and a water treatment facility to recycle and purify water.
President Kenyatta said the country has begun to reap the benefits of a decade of investments in ICT infrastructure as the future of work continues to shift as a result of exponential technological advancements.
“The sustained investments in the ICT sector continue to enable our youth to prepare for a dignified digital-driven future of work opportunities in areas such as block chain, artificial intelligence, remote work, online marketplaces and new national and global e-business opportunities,” the President said.
Ms. Joy Chik, Microsoft Vice President, said the new site is one of many development centres across the world aimed at training world-class engineers who will produce global products and services.
She noted that the centre has already hired around 450 engineers in Kenya, as well as 500 people in other fields.