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Microsoft to build $1billion data center in Kenya after closing its Nigerian facility

1716480010 Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft Corporation and G42, a leading artificial intelligence company in the United Arab Emirates are working together to build a $1 billion geothermal-powered data center in Kenya.

This development follows the decision of Microsoft to close down its African development centre in Lagos Nigeria putting about 200 people out of work.

According to Business Insider Africa, the project marks the first phase of a multiyear initiative aimed at boosting cloud computing capacity and services in East Africa.

The initial investment and construction of the facility will be carried out by G42. They will oversee the construction of the facility in Olkaria, an area in Kenya rich in geothermal resources. This is done to bypass the issue of power outages in the continent as Kenya fits in with Microsoft’s climate goals.

The first phase of the project will have a capacity of 100 megawatts and is expected to be operational in two years.

Microsoft, G42 and Kenyan officials are set to sign a letter of intent tomorrow which was created with the assistance of the US and UAE governments.

Microsoft President Brad Smith who is no stranger to Kenya as a country argued that the new project is a significant step in deepening and embedding digital technology in the country’s history.

He also hailed the alliance with UAE’s G42 citing the significant milestones that could be achieved if both parties work together in promoting digital technology in Africa.

“This shows what G42 and Microsoft have the opportunity to do together that neither one of us could do separately. I frankly think it shows that what the United States and the United Arab Emirates can do together that helps bring technology to new countries, especially across Africa.” Brad smith said.

G42 Chief Executive Officer Peng Xiao explained that the full project would require up to one gigawatt of electricity from the grid.

The corporate bromance between Microsoft and G42 strengthened in April when Microsoft agreed to invest $1.5 billion in G42. The deal was initiated by the Biden administration in a bid to checkmate Chinese influence and access to AI technology.

The deal involved G42 terminating its business relationships with Chinese companies and opting to work only with the United States.

What To Know 

  • Abu Dhabi-based G42, in which Microsoft invested $1.5 billion last month, has begun training an open-source large-language AI model in Swahili and English. The data centre is projected to build on this.
  • UAE’s G42 expansion into Kenya is part of a larger initiative by the oil-rich UAE to grow and expand its influence in Africa. The country has committed to invest about $100 billion In the continent over the past two years.
  • Microsoft’s decision to close down its African development centre points to a larger problem with Nigeria’s business climate at the moment as the country struggles to woo investors or keep existing ones.

 


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