Partnership

Microsoft and G42 Announce $1B Digital Ecosystem Initiative for Kenya

What’s this about?

  • Microsoft and G42 are investing $1 billion to establish a green data centre in Kenya’s new East Africa Cloud Region, advancing the country’s digital transformation and enhancing connectivity across East Africa.
  • The partnership includes the development of local-language AI models, an East Africa Innovation Lab, and robust cloud services, aiming to drive digital innovation and create job opportunities in Kenya and the region.
  • The initiative, supported by the U.S. and UAE governments, will be formalized with a letter of intent during President Ruto’s visit to the U.S., marking a significant step towards positioning Kenya as a regional digital hub.

Zoom in…

Microsoft and G42 have unveiled an extensive digital investment plan for Kenya in collaboration with the Republic of Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy.

This initiative involves a $1 billion initial investment led by G42 to establish various components, including a cutting-edge green data centre in Kenya’s new East Africa Cloud Region to run Microsoft Azure.

The partnership also entails the development of Swahili/English AI models and the launch of AI societal services tailored to Kenya’s economic and cultural needs. Microsoft and G42 will collaborate with local universities and organizations to accelerate advanced research and address societal priorities across East Africa using AI technology.

A letter of intent to be signed this Friday will formalize this partnership during Kenyan President William Ruto’s state visit to the United States, marking the first visit by a sitting African head of state to Washington, D.C., in nearly two decades. Crafted with assistance from the United States and the United Arab Emirates governments, the letter will be signed by Microsoft, G42, and Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy.

What they are saying…

Sustainable data center infrastructure and the establishment of a new East Africa cloud region will be a significant part of the agreement. G42, along with local partners, will construct a state-of-the-art data center campus in Olkaria, Kenya, powered entirely by renewable geothermal energy and incorporating advanced water conservation technology. This data center will provide access to Microsoft Azure through the new East Africa Cloud Region within 24 months, offering scalable, secure, and high-speed cloud and AI services to drive digital transformation across Kenya and East Africa.”

President Ruto highlighted the broader significance of this partnership, emphasizing its role in advancing technology and fostering a digitally empowered future for the USA, Kenya, and the UAE.

This partnership is bigger than technology itself. It is about coming together of three countries with a common vision of anation empowered by technology, where every citizen has the opportunity to thrive in the global digital landscape. It’s about building a future where Kenya flourishes as a digital leader. In the spirit of mutual growth and shared prosperity, this LOI is a steppingstone toward a brighter, more connected and digitally empowered future for the USA, Kenya and the UAE. It embodies our collective aspiration to bridge the digital divide, accelerate technological innovation, and pave the way for a thriving digital economy that benefits the entire African continent and beyond.”

Vice Chair and president of Microsoft, Brad Smith echoed this sentiment, underlining the substantial digital investment as a testament to confidence in Kenya’s potential and the future of East Africa.

This partnership between two companies and three countries highlights a real opportunity to bring digital technology to the Global South in a safe and secure manner. This represents the single largest and broadest digital investment in Kenya’s history and reflects our confidence in the country, the government, its people and the future of East Africa.”

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of G42, Peng Xiao expressed enthusiasm for the transformative impact of the partnership on Kenya’s digital ecosystem. Through initiatives like the establishment of a green data centre and localized AI development, G42 aims to empower the Kenyan government and communities with robust cloud services and AI capabilities, laying the groundwork for a thriving digital economy.

In partnership with Microsoft, we are excited to work with the Kenyan government to usher in a transformative era for the digital ecosystem in Kenya and the region. By establishing a green data center and developing AI tailored to the local culture, G42 is committed to fostering sustainable technological growth. This initiative will empower the Kenyan government and communities with robust, secure cloud services and AI capabilities, providing the foundation for a thriving digital economy across the region.”

The Big Picture

The partnership also entails the development of Swahili/English AI models and the launch of AI societal services tailored to Kenya’s economic and cultural needs. Microsoft and G42 will collaborate with local universities and organizations to accelerate advanced research and address societal priorities across East Africa using AI technology.

An East Africa Innovation Lab will be established in Nairobi to support startups, entrepreneurs, and organizations in developing and implementing cloud and AI services. Microsoft and G42 will provide skilling and mentorship support to create a future-ready workforce, collaborating with various local partners to offer digital and AI skills training programs.

Efforts to expand internet connectivity will continue, with G42 and its UAE partners supporting Kenya’s development of international and domestic fibre cable infrastructure. Microsoft aims to provide last-mile wireless internet access to millions of people in Kenya and East Africa by partnering with local providers and leveraging innovative financing models.

Bottomline

In terms of digital safety and security, Microsoft and G42 will collaborate with the Kenyan government to design and operate the new East Africa cloud region as a “trusted data zone.” This ensures adherence to global standards for digital safety, privacy, and security while facilitating the adoption of cloud services for governmental and citizen use.

Source: techmoran.com

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