Microsoft and G42 plan billion-dollar investment in Kenya's digital development

Microsoft and G42 plan billion-dollar investment in Kenya's digital development

Technology giant Microsoft and artificial intelligence-focused UAE-based technology group G42 have announced a comprehensive package of digital investments in Kenya, as part of an initiative with the Republic of Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy.

In collaboration with Microsoft and other stakeholders, G42 will lead the arrangement of an initial investment of US$1 billion for various components outlined in a comprehensive package. They include a green data centre that will be built by G42 and its partners in Olkaria. It will run entirely on renewable geothermal energy and be designed with state-of-the-art water conservation technology. The data centre will run on and provide access to Microsoft Azure through a new East Africa Cloud Region, which will become operational within 24 months of the signing of the definitive agreements.

The initiative will include four additional pillars that will be pursued with local partners:  local-language (Swahili and English) AI model development and research; an East Africa Innovation Lab coupled with broad AI digital skills training; international and local connectivity investments; and collaboration with the government of Kenya to support safe and secure cloud services across East Africa.

Among the highlights of a very long list of initiatives announced by Microsoft, it says its AI for Good Lab in Nairobi will use AI technology to work with non-profit organisations and other partners to help address economic and societal priorities across East Africa, including food security, nature conservancy, disaster preparedness and monitoring wildlife populations.

Also, Microsoft and G42 will launch and operate an East African Innovation Lab in Nairobi to help Kenyan and other East African startups, entrepreneurs, companies and organisations develop and implement cloud and AI services.

In addition, Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy will continue to expand work with Microsoft and G42 to broaden internet connectivity including development of international and domestic marine and terrestrial fibre cable infrastructure.

Microsoft adds that it will continue to expand its work to bring last-mile wireless internet access to 20 million people in Kenya and 50 million people across East Africa by the end of 2025 building on the company’s partnerships with Mawingu Networks, Liquid, CSquared and other local partners in Kenya. It also aims to work with M-KOPA, one of the largest providers of solar home systems globally.

Nor is cybersecurity being overlooked; Microsoft says it will provide cybersecurity assistance and support to its customers in Kenya and across East Africa.

Underlining the significance of this agreement, a letter of intent formalising the relationship will be signed on Friday as part of Kenyan President William Ruto’s state visit to the USA.


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