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Microsoft commits over $200m to training African tech engineers

With a $70 million edifice situated in Ikoyi Lagos, Software giant, Microsoft has put a permanent structure to its plans of training African engineers who will build solutions to solve global problems.

The structure is part of the over $200 million already expended to achieve the feat through the African Development Center. Launched Monday the building known as Kings Towers houses over 200 engineers who are mainly Nigerians, churning out wave making digital solutions that will change the African narratives and give the world a shoulder to rest on, as far as digital solutions are concerned.

For the past three years ADC has been operating from the Microsoft’s Lagos hub, but with the launch, it will now be based in its new ultra-modern state-of-the-art facility at Glover Road, Ikoyi. The facility is housing the product engineering, ecosystem development and innovation teams.

In May 2019, Microsoft announced the establishment of the Africa Development Center (ADC) in Nigeria and Kenya, with the mission of creating innovative technology not just for Africa, but for the entire world. Afterwards, there was a call for talented engineers to work on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Mixed Reality, with the company committing to investing 100 million US dollars in the first five years of operation.

The new ADC facility will also house the Microsoft Garage, a new entity launched as part of ongoing efforts to scale innovation in the tech ecosystem.

The Garage is structured as a freeform workspace where Microsoft employees, interns, schools, and community groups can find the tools and training they need to launch products and learn skills. The Garage is meant to spread the values of openness and collaboration throughout the Microsoft ADC, where people come to The Garage to work with interdisciplinary teams on passion projects that sometimes make their way into Microsoft products – this should ultimately allow Microsoft ADC to become a more prominent shaper of Africa’s tech culture.

The facility was officially launched by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, who was accompanied by the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, among other key guests.

Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was represented at the occasion, by the Commissioner of Science and Technology, Hakeem Fahm.

Speaking at the facility opening, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, lauded the development, noting that it strengthens the country’s position as a leading regional digital innovation hub, putting Nigeria on the path to having the biggest digital economy in Africa.

Also Governor of Lagos State, Sanwo-Olu said: “I join several Nigerians and Lagosians today in applauding Microsoft’s commitment to developing the tech in our state and country through this state-of-the-art 7-floor facility, which will improve employment and also contribute significantly to the training and rise of many tech giants in Nigeria.”

On his part, the ADC West Africa Managing Director, Gafar Lawal said: “The facility will continue our efforts towards training, equipping and hiring engineering talent in Nigeria and West Africa as whole to contribute to the development of Microsoft products that are in use by over 1 billion devices and empowering millions of users and organizations across the world to do more.”

On ADC’s focus for the future, Corporate Vice President of the Identity and Network Access engineering team at Microsoft, and executive sponsor of the Africa Development Center, Joy Chik, said: “Based on the great feedback we have received from engineering leads working with teams in Nigeria, we are definitely going to hire more engineering talent. We will continue to focus on student and community engagements, as well as investments in Microsoft programs, that will help us build a diverse team of talented men and women.”

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