Is Microsoft leading the way for global Tech giants into Africa? It might appear so.
On the eve of the official launch of Windows 10 i remember seeing a rather strange tweet. This tweet was shared by Microsoft’s chief executive officer Satya Nadella. The tweet read “Arrived in Kenya to celebrate @Windows 10 launch with fans & learn how tech is #empowering Kenyan people & orgs”.
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) July 28, 2015
In as much as it was unbelievable , it was a very welcomed initiative.
There’s been so much noise about Africa on the rise, Africa the new growth market, the next tech bubble happening in Africa. There’s also been the rise in digital technology growth. It’s been said Africa will be the source for tech talent as tech drives growth. If any of that is true then of course familiarizing yourself and setting yourself up will be the way to go for these global giants.
“I’m here in Kenya and in Nairobi to listen and learn. I wanted to come (personally) to Kenya because I felt this was a place where I needed to be to learn.” – Satya Nadella
So 28th July 2015, Satya Nadella visits Kenya and helped students upgrade their PC’s as windows 10 got launched globally on the 29th. He also to joined a Windows 10 fans party later that evening, after spending the day visiting local start-ups. It seems years on he set the pace for a new era of visitation that was about to hit the continent. A year on 29th August Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg visits Nigeria and Kenya, 1st September 2016 to learn about mobile money, meet entrepreneurs and developers. This July, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was in Nigeria for the Google for Nigeria conference. In Rwanda and Kenya this year was Alibaba group chairman Jack Ma. The tech giants are coming and it’s only just started.
Satya Nadella celebrates Windows 10 in Kenya
Microsoft held it’s first ever major conference in Africa, NexTech Africa in February 2017. The event brought partners, stakeholders, technology leaders from Microsoft and across the continent together discussing what it means for technology to be innately African. Microsoft said we came to listen and learn, we aren’t here to impose or presume we know the terrain, (italics mine).
Google has also held it’s first major conference on African soil with Google for Nigeria event.
The Global Tech Giants are coming and it’s only just started.
Talking about infrastructure, IBM has two research facilities located in Nairobi, Kenya and Johannesburg, South Africa. Microsoft is bringing its cloud solutions closer, announcing two datacenters to be located in Johannesburg and Cape Town. A first in Africa, which has all sorts of benefits to it. We know the cloud is the future. This will encourage others like Amazon, Google, etc to invest infrastructure wise in Africa as well.
This year marks 4 years of Microsoft 4Afrika initiative. An initiative to develop affordable access, skills and innovation on the African continent.
Over this period the initiative has seen 15 TV white spaces connectivity projects launched. It’s said to have brought over 500,000 SMEs online and upskilled close to 800,000 people across the continent. About 82 local start-ups have received help to grow their enterprise.
The desire to empower every individual and organization to achieve more saw another initiative in Africa take off. This they did by starting the Windows Insider Fellowship program in Lagos, Nigeria, 2016. It continued with the announcement of the Windows Insiders East African fellowship at NexTech Africa. This will see about 45 ideas turned into social enterprises that’ll have impacts in their communities. At the Google for Nigeria conference, plans were announced to train 100,000 software developers and give grants to causes.
We will see many more investments and initiatives from the valley and global tech giants. Will it be as a recognition to the vast potential available in Africa? Microsoft sure is doing something right. Maybe they are leading the way for the gobal giants into Africa.
Do you share this same opinion? Are the giants coming in at all? Share your views with us. We’ll like to hear what you think.