By Bukola Olanrewaju
Microsoft has officially launched and opened its opened the Nigeria site of its first Africa Development Centre (ADC).
The centre, which is Microsoft’s 7th globally, is recruiting world-class African engineering talent to develop 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.
According to the Executive sponsor of the ADC and Executive Vice President at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, “it’s an opportunity to engage more with local partners, academia, governments and developers – driving impact and innovation in sectors important to Africa.”
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 support the development of these required skills, Microsoft is also partnering with local universities to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum, unique to Africa. Graduates from top Nigerian engineering universities will have access to the ADC to build relevant and meaningful careers in data science, AI, mixed reality, application development and more.
A professor of Computer Science, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) Professor Kayode Alese says, “For more than 20 years I have taught computer science to enthusiastic African students, but still Africa has been referred to as the last technology frontier.
“The fact Microsoft has taken the giant step of setting up its first development centre in Nigeria is a testament to the huge talent base that exists in our academic institutions. It is a great time to be a Nigerian.
“We have already started our work in Nigeria around our mixed reality offering and I am very much looking forward to the kind of innovation that will come from the ADC,” says the technical fellow at Microsoft and the lead in establishing the first engineering team in Lagos, Alex Kipman. “I am looking to learn, understand, and work hard so that we can grow together organically.”
The joint investment in ADC infrastructure and employment of qualified local engineers is expected to total US $100 million over the first five years of operation.