Microsoft will spend more than $100 million over the next five years to open its first development center in Africa and hire 500 people within four years.
Microsoft is also partnering with local universities to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum unique to Africa, with access to the Africa Development Centre provided to graduates.
Microsoft opened its first office in Africa nearly three decades ago. It also runs a program called Microsoft 4Afrika, which launched in 2013 and is “Microsoft’s business and market development engine on the continent.”
Microsoft became the first of the major cloud providers to provide local service to Africa when it brought its South African data centers online in March. The company said it expects demand for cloud computing services in Africa to triple over the next few years, and local cloud availability could spur a startup boom given the experimental possibilities afforded by cloud computing services.