Microsoft is seeking partners in the establishment of their first regional development center in Africa and the 7th of its kind globally. According to Microsoft Vice President in-charge of Office 365, Engineer Perry Clarke, who led a delegation of Microsoft officials to JKUAT, May 13th, the software giant plans to spend more than $100 million over five years for the project in collaboration with local partners and government.
While interacting with students, Eng. Clarke reported that initial sites for the development center will be in Nairobi, Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria. They plan to hire 100 full-time developers at the two sites by the end of 2019 and expand to 500 by the end of 2023.
On working with local partners, Eng. Clarke and his team said they were impressed by what JKUAT had achieved in the region and said as they explore areas of collaborations, they were willing to work with the university to achieve her vision. He also encouraged students to exploit the ever-changing technological ecosystem, urging them to identify a role model cum mentor in their field and take advantage of the various hackathon and coding competitions to hone their skills.
“Microsoft provides an ecosystem where you continue to grow and learn, and hopefully as we venture into this project we will be able to provide enough talent and knowledge for the youth to take advantage of,” opined Eng. Clarke.
While receiving the Microsoft team at JKUAT, Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi said the two institutions had beneficial working relationship adding that Microsoft was one of the critical partners in JKUAT’s initiative to locally assemble laptops.
Ngumi thanked the team for visiting JKUAT and acknowledged that the development center will boost the ICT infrastructure and capacity building in the country. “JKUAT is one of the most preferred learning institutions among employers, parents, and students. Our attractiveness can be attributed to technical expertise, knowledge of the industry by both staff and students, industry involvement through internships and curriculum development and mentorship programs,” explained Prof. Ngumi.
The team also interacted with a number of students innovations such as ‘Walking Buddy’ exhibited by Freshia Sackey, a 3rd-year Electronic and Computer Engineering student and ‘PowerYako’ presented by Joseph Ngatia Mwaniki, Marystella Natasha both 4th-Year students of BSc. Control and Instrumentation and Dennis Kariuki, 4th-Year student BSc. Computer Science.