Seal of the President of the Republic of Kenya /
Microsoft Corporation, an American technology giant has unveiled a plan to set up a technology development center in Kenya.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday hosted a meeting with Microsoft top executives, led by Executive Vice President for Gaming Phil Spencer
During the meeting Phil Spencer unveiled that Microsoft Corporation plans to set up the Microsoft African Development Center in Nairobi, Kenya which will serve the Eastern Africa region.
The Big picture: The technology center, will not only be the corporation’s gateway to the region, but carries huge potential for jobs and business opportunities for tech-savvy East African youth in the various field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). At the start, the corporation will absorb 100 local engineers, vacancies that were announced in March.
President Kenyatta welcomed the new initiative and assured Microsoft of his full support.
“You can count on my 100 percent support. I want this to be a transparent partnership that benefits Microsoft and Kenyans greatly. We want you to make Kenya your African home," President Kenyatta said.
According to Microsoft, the Africa Development Center will be a premier hub of engineering for the US technology company and its affiliates. The center will leverage on the diversity of the regional landscape to build world class talent capable of creating innovative solutions for global impact. The Center is expected to establish a collaborative engineering springboard for new technology investments in Kenya.
Besides Nairobi, Microsoft has earmarked Nigeria as the other beneficiary of a similar facility on the continent to serve West Africa.
Why it matter: The new development sites carry great potential for job creation, talent development and technology transfer among Africa's youth especially in countries such as Kenya. The Microsoft African Development Center will contribute to Microsoft's interests across global businesses such as Office, Azure and Windows among others.
The Head of State called for openness in the partnership and challenged Microsoft to ensure intellectual property rights of Kenyans involved in their projects are adequately protected.
"Ensure we do not lose the intellectual property rights that belong to our young people. We need an open and transparent partnership," he said.
In order to truly democratize innovation in the digital space, President Kenyatta called on the Microsoft team to consider expanding the range of African languages available and usable on the internet.
The Microsoft team accompanying Mr. Spencer included Michael Fortin, the Corporate Vice President for Engineering and Sarah Bond , the Corporate Vice President for Xbox, Gaming Partnership and Business Development.
The Kenyan team in the meeting included ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, the Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale, State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita and Senior Advisor in the Office of the President Ruth Kagia.