Microsoft And Google Are Making Bets In Africa. Who Else Will Follow?

Last month, Google made news when they officially opened their AI Center in Accra, Ghana. It was good news for Ghana as well as the African continent that a giant tech company had chosen to directly be on the ground in spearheading their AI initiative.

Google AI Office in Accra

Not to be outdone, another giant tech company recently made news on the African continent.

Microsoft is turning its sights on software engineering talent in Africa and will spend over $100 million on a software development center initiative. The company’s development centers in Africa will open in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya this year and will employ 100 full-time developers who will work across artificial intelligence, machine learning and mixed reality innovation.

Microsoft plans to expand to 500 engineers across the two countries by 2023.

Microsoft had already established data centers in South Africa this year and now it’s adding more presence on the continent with its development center.

Microsoft Data Centers in South Africa (Photo Credit: Microsoft)

Two American tech companies establishing their presence in African countries should be good news for local talent. Local engineers tend to look outside the continent for better opportunities including better pay as well as growth and skills development. Fortunately, companies look Andela are trying to help solve that problem by training and employing local talent in Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya.

With news like Microsoft’s initiative, this could push local talent to look more inward for opportunities and skills development than trying to go to countries in Europe and the US.

But what’s the guarantee that local developers will stay put if the local market can’t provide especially when they reach a new level of growth. If the local market and companies can’t create enough job opportunities for local developer talent, the potential exodus of talent to countries abroad will still be present.

An optimist would see this as a great opportunity for the African continent to grow enough local talent where models India, where most companies tend to outsource most of IT and technical jobs.

Regardless, news of globally recognised tech companies investing in local talent is good enough. So will this create a ripple effect? Will more companies look to also establish themselves to score some of the local talent on the continent? Should we expect companies like Amazon to also announce something in the near future.