Microsoft and G42 Announce $1 Billion Digital Investment in Kenya

A high-tech green data center in Olkaria, Kenya, surrounded by lush greenery and geothermal energy plants. The scene includes modern data center build

Microsoft Corp and G42 have announced a comprehensive digital investment initiative in Kenya, in collaboration with the Republic of Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy. This initiative includes an initial investment of $1 billion, spearheaded by G42, to enhance Kenya’s digital infrastructure.

A key component of this investment is the construction of a state-of-the-art green data centre in Olkaria, Kenya. This facility, powered entirely by renewable geothermal energy, will support Microsoft Azure in a new East Africa Cloud Region, which will become operational within 24 months of the agreement signing.

The initiative comprises four additional pillars: development of local-language AI models, establishment of an East Africa Innovation Lab with extensive AI skills training, investments in international and local connectivity, and collaboration with the Kenyan government to ensure safe and secure cloud services across East Africa.

A letter of intent will be signed on Friday during Kenyan President William Ruto’s state visit to the US, marking the first such visit by an African head of state in nearly two decades. The agreement involves Microsoft, G42, and Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy, with support from the US and UAE governments.

The data centre will provide scalable, secure, high-speed cloud and AI services, accelerating cloud adoption and digital transformation across Kenya and East Africa. President Ruto emphasized the transformative potential of this partnership, envisioning a digitally empowered Kenya and East Africa.

Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft, highlighted this as the largest digital investment in Kenya’s history, underscoring confidence in the country’s future. Peng Xiao, CEO of G42, expressed excitement about collaborating with Microsoft and the Kenyan government to foster sustainable technological growth and secure cloud services.

The initiative also includes the development of Swahili/English AI models to support Kenya’s cultural and linguistic needs. Collaboration with local universities and research institutions will be enhanced to accelerate advanced research and AI applications.

Microsoft’s AI for Good Lab in Nairobi will work with non-profits and partners to address economic and societal priorities, including food security and environmental monitoring. The lab will also collaborate with organizations like the Kenya Red Cross Society and Kenya Space Agency to improve climate resilience and disaster response.

The East African Innovation Lab in Nairobi will support startups, entrepreneurs, and organizations in developing cloud and AI services, providing design sessions and mentorship from Microsoft developers. Digital and AI skills programs will be offered to government employees, young entrepreneurs, and the broader Kenyan society.

To expand internet connectivity, G42 and its UAE partners will support Kenya’s development of marine and terrestrial fibre infrastructure. Microsoft aims to provide last-mile wireless internet access to millions across Kenya and East Africa by 2025, in partnership with local companies.

Microsoft and G42 will also ensure the new cloud region meets global standards for digital safety, privacy, and security, establishing a “trusted data zone” for data governance. The Kenyan government will adopt a “cloud-first” policy to facilitate the transition to cloud services.

Microsoft will provide cybersecurity support through its Threat Intelligence Centre and Threat Analysis Centre, ensuring robust digital security for customers in Kenya and East Africa.

This historic investment reflects Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more through innovative, AI-powered solutions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *