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Microsoft’s $100 Million Hyper-Scale Data Centers Land In Africa

Microsoft’s $100 Million Hyper-Scale Data Centers Land In Africa

By Donitra Clemons

  • The reach of Silicon Valley is expanding throughout some countries in Africa

  • Microsoft will invest $100M into their Africa Development Center initiative

Building on the “hyper-scale” data center model, Microsoft (MSFT +0.51%) started in South Africa, it has opened new sites called Africa Development Centers (ADC) in Kenya and Nigeria. As countries in Africa are increasingly viewed as the next frontier of the global tech landscape, foreign companies are allocating more funds towards developing Africa’s digital framework.

Microsoft Africa Data Center.jpg

Why This Matters: Tech giants like Microsoft and Google (GOOG +0.95%) are establishing a greater presence on the continent, by launching hubs dedicated to learning and developing technologies including data science, AI, and cloud computing.

Over the course of five years, Microsoft will invest $100 million into their Africa Development Center initiative, according to their website. Projects like Microsoft’s create more than just buildings, they help to expand the labor force of the region.

The tech giant has already begun staffing the ADCs with engineers and personnel from across the continent. Microsoft said it “intends to recruit 100 full-time engineers by the end of the year – expanding to 500 across the two sites by 2023.”  

Projects like Microsoft’s create more than just buildings, they help to expand the labor force of the region

Microsoft’s cloud competitor Google chose Ghana to launch its first Artificial intelligence lab in Africa. Google said their aim is to “bring together top machine learning researchers and engineers in this new center dedicated to AI research and its applications.” The research could spark a myriad of positive advancements in healthcare, transportation, agriculture, communications, and education throughout Africa and the world.

Situational Awareness: The grip of foreign companies operating in Africa is nothing new. Outside international organizations have long enjoyed privileged (sometimes controversial) access to Africa’s natural resources and consumer markets. While tech companies have had a presence on the continent for the past few decades in various forms, recent initiatives finally include investments in the people of Africa.  By partnering with local governments and universities, tech companies are creating educational programming, small business infrastructures and truer partnerships.

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