Right now in Kenya just as any time in Kenya’s history the news that someone will create jobs is the best news that can land on a young person’s ears. Politicians know this and that’s why in 2002 elections NARC Coalition ran on the platform of creating a million jobs per year for the youth (I had just joined college and their slogan gave me hope of getting employed immediately after the Bsc. degree) while Uhuru Kenyatta had the kazi kwa vijana slogan. In the 2013 elections Uhuru Kenyatta would borrow a leaf from NARC (I think it’s because NARC had won) and promised the youth to create a million jobs per year, something they reiterated in the 2017 elections. That is, the promise that someone will create jobs, be they one million or one hundred, sounds so sweet to youthful ear, giving hope that all will be well. And that’s why yesterday’s announcement by Microsoft during the opening of Africa Development Centre that they will create one hundred jobs in Kenya and Nigeria by the end of 2019, targeting to increase that number to 500 jobs by 2023 has been received with a lot of enthusiasm and expectations.
Personally it is not the direct jobs that the Africa Development Centre by Microsoft will create that excites me, but the realization that this centre will spur up the culture of innovation, generation of new startups, and nurturing of Kenya’s talents to be useful in creating exciting AI and related products that makes me love what Microsoft has done. If successful, I am also looking forward to other big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and the many others to set up similar centres hence accelerate innovative culture in the region. Also, the fact that Kenyan software developers will be involved in creating meaningful tech solutions will be a direct encouragement to the thousands of youth pursuing IT related courses to look forward into becoming as useful as those already working in he Africa Development Centre.
Basically, the Africa Development Centre that Microsoft has opened in Kenya is a centre where software developers mostly specialized in Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Data Science, Mixed Reality, Application Development and many more will be gathered to work through solutions aimed at expanding Microsoft’s presence in Africa, but more so to generate solutions that will give Microsoft an edge over the rest as a company interested in tackling African problems.
“The ADC will be unlike any other existing investment on the continent. It will help us better listen to our customers, develop locally and scale for global impact,” says Phil Spencer, executive sponsor of the ADC and executive vice president at Microsoft. “Beyond that, it’s an opportunity to engage more with local partners, academia, governments and developers – driving impact and innovation in sectors important to Africa.”
Already, Microsoft has formed partnership with local Universities to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum, unique to Africa. Graduates from top Kenyan engineering universities will have access to the ADC to build relevant and meaningful careers in data science, AI, mixed reality, application development and more. “The launch of AppFactory and Microsoft Imagine Academy at USIU-Africa has seen a significant reduction in the competency gap between ICT graduates across Africa, by equipping students with high-level skills in designing, developing, implementing and managing modern software solutions. USIU-Africa looks forward to more infrastructural collaboration with Microsoft to establish itself as a high-performance computing academy developing modern software solutions,” says Dr. Patrick Wamuyu, head of department – Computing at USIU-Africa.
“Our desire is to recruit exceptional engineering talent and provide the opportunity to work on the latest technologies suitable for Kenya and the rest of the world,” says Michael Fortin, corporate vice president at Microsoft and the lead in establishing the first ADC engineering team in Nairobi. “In doing so, engineers are able to enjoy meaningful work from their home countries, while plugged into a global engineering and development organisation.”
For those IT professionals and students looking forward to working at the Microsoft’s Africa Development Centre, there are already careers you can apply for right now. Just visit their career portal via this link.