Microsoft this week announced that it has hired 50 engineers for its Africa Development Centre (ADC) in Nairobi. The newly employed engineers will work on cutting-edge technology specifically designed for businesses in Africa. The 50 experts are part of a team of 100 computer science engineers the tech giant targets to hire as it looks to enter into more partnerships with local small and medium-sized enterprises, according to Business Daily.

“Hiring is happening and depends on the right skills,” said visiting Microsoft general manager for (the) Middle East and Africa (MEA) Ibrahim Youssry. “We are recruiting the best calibres to develop them and work on our products.” Youssry added that there are roughly 50 people who have been hired, a tally that will be doubled in the “next few months.”

Microsoft aims to build a new generation of developers who are gaining multinational expertise and international experience which will be useful to the community and Africa. The Nairobi Centre is Microsoft’s first in the continent with plans underway to launch a second one in Lagos, Nigeria before the end of this year. In May, the company said it will invest around $100 million in the two centres in the next five years.

In August, Microsoft poached Equity Bank’s Finserve chief Jack Ngare to be the first managing director of its Nairobi research and development centre. The centre aims to increase Microsoft’s presence in Africa to empower partners and customers as they use Microsoft solutions in fields important to the continent like FinTech, Agri Tech and Off-Grid energy.

ADC is a platform were Microsoft can listen better to their customers and develop locally and scale for global impact. Beyond that, it’s an opportunity for Microsoft to engage more with local partners, academia, governments and developers, driving impact and innovation in sectors important to Africa.

For ADC, Microsoft is seeking 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.

Microsoft is also partnering with local universities to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum, unique to Africa. Graduates from top African engineering universities will have access to the ADC to build relevant and meaningful careers in data science, AI, mixed reality, application development and more.

Written by Faith Ikade.

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