Microsoft to invest $1 billion in Kenya to bridge digital divide in East Africa

Microsoft and UAE's G42 want to invest $1 billion into Kenya to enhance connectivity in East Africa, as well as the establishment of a new East Africa Cloud Region.

Microsoft to invest $1 billion in Kenya to bridge digital divide in East Africa
President William Ruto

In a significant boost for Kenya's digital ambitions, a consortium led by Microsoft and UAE artificial intelligence (AI) giant G42 has pledged a $1 billion investment to the country. The deal, formalised during President William Ruto's visit to the United States, signifies a collaboration between three nations – Kenya, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates.

At the heart of the initiative lies the construction of a state-of-the-art green data centre powered by renewable geothermal energy. This facility, to be built by G42 in collaboration with local partners, will house Microsoft Azure and establish a brand new East Africa Cloud Region, according to a statement seen by

Beyond infrastructure, the partnership focuses on four key pillars:

  • Developing AI for local needs: Swahili and English AI models will be created to cater to Kenya's unique linguistic landscape. This effort will involve collaboration with universities across Kenya, East Africa, and Abu Dhabi.
  • Fostering innovation: An East African Innovation Lab in Nairobi will be established to support regional startups and businesses in developing and deploying cloud and AI solutions.
  • Bridging the digital divide: Microsoft and G42, alongside local partners, aim to equip Kenyans with the necessary digital and AI skills through training programs.
  • Enhancing connectivity: The collaboration will see continued efforts to expand internet access across Kenya and East Africa, to reach 20 million Kenyans and 50 million East Africans by the end of 2025.

This initiative transcends mere technology investment, as highlighted by Kenyan President William Ruto. He emphasized the partnership's potential to empower every Kenyan citizen and position the country as a digital leader in Africa.

Both Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft, and Peng Xiao, Group CEO of G42, expressed their confidence in Kenya's potential and commitment to fostering sustainable technological growth in the region.

The agreement also emphasizes digital safety and security. A "trusted data zone" adhering to global standards will be established to safeguard data privacy. Kenya will leverage the new data center and cloud services for government operations while adopting a "cloud-first" policy to encourage wider cloud adoption.

This landmark deal between Kenya, Microsoft, and G42 marks a significant milestone in the country's digital transformation journey. The investment holds the potential to unlock immense economic and social benefits for Kenya and the broader East African region.

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