Microsoft and G42 Announce $1 Billion AI and Cloud Initiative in East Africa

WASHINGTON, Might 24, 2024 — Microsoft Corp. and G42 on Wednesday introduced a complete package deal of digital investments in Kenya, as a part of an initiative with the Republic of Kenya’s Ministry of Data, Communications and the Digital Economic system.

In collaboration with Microsoft and different stakeholders, G42 will lead the association of an preliminary funding of $1 billion for the assorted elements outlined within the complete package deal. One of many Kenyan funding priorities is a state-of-the-art inexperienced knowledge heart that will likely be constructed by G42 and its companions to run Microsoft Azure in a brand new East Africa Cloud Area.

The initiative will embody 4 extra pillars that will likely be pursued with native companions:

  1. Native-language AI mannequin improvement and analysis.
  2. An East Africa Innovation Lab coupled with broad AI digital expertise coaching.
  3. Worldwide and native connectivity investments.
  4. Collaboration with the federal government of Kenya to help secure and safe cloud companies throughout East Africa.

A letter of intent formalizing the connection will likely be signed on Friday as a part of Kenyan President William Ruto’s state go to to america of America, the primary state go to to Washington, D.C., by a sitting African head of state in almost 20 years. The letter of intent will likely be signed between Microsoft, G42 and Kenya’s Ministry of Data, Communications and the Digital Economic system, and was crafted with the help of the governments of america and the United Arab Emirates.

Sustainable Information Middle Infrastructure and New East Africa Cloud Area

As a part of the settlement, G42, in collaboration with native companions, will design and construct a state-of-the-art knowledge heart campus in Olkaria, Kenya, run fully on renewable geothermal vitality and designed with state-of-the-art water conservation know-how. The info heart will run on and supply entry to Microsoft Azure by means of a brand new East Africa Cloud Area, which can turn into operational inside 24 months of the signing of the definitive agreements.

This cloud area will present clients entry to scalable, safe, high-speed cloud and AI companies to speed up cloud adoption and the digital transformation of companies, clients and companions throughout Kenya and East Africa.

His Excellency, President, Dr. William Samoei Ruto, acknowledged that, “This partnership is larger than know-how itself. It’s about coming collectively of three nations with a typical imaginative and prescient of a nation empowered by know-how, the place each citizen has the chance to thrive within the world digital panorama. It’s about constructing a future the place Kenya prospers as a digital chief.”

The President emphasised, “Within the spirit of mutual development and shared prosperity, this LOI is a stepping stone towards a brighter, extra linked and digitally empowered future for the USA, Kenya and the UAE. It embodies our collective aspiration to bridge the digital divide, speed up technological innovation, and pave the way in which for a thriving digital financial system that advantages the complete African continent and past.”

“This partnership between two firms and three nations highlights an actual alternative to deliver digital know-how to the International South in a secure and safe method,” stated Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft. “This represents the one largest and broadest digital funding in Kenya’s historical past and displays our confidence within the nation, the federal government, its individuals and the way forward for East Africa.”

Peng Xiao, group chief government officer of G42, stated: “In partnership with Microsoft, we’re excited to work with the Kenyan authorities to usher in a transformative period for the digital ecosystem in Kenya and the area. By establishing a inexperienced knowledge heart and growing AI tailor-made to the native tradition, G42 is dedicated to fostering sustainable technological development. This initiative will empower the Kenyan authorities and communities with strong, safe cloud companies and AI capabilities, offering the inspiration for a thriving digital financial system throughout the area.”

Improvement of Swahili/English AI Fashions and Launch of AI Societal Companies

To help nationwide financial development and improvement and help Kenya’s distinctive cultural and linguistic wants, G42 has begun work by means of its knowledge infrastructure in america to coach an open-source giant language AI mannequin in Swahili and English. To construct on this and assist speed up superior analysis in Kenya, Microsoft and G42 will enhance their mixed collaboration and help for native universities, by means of the Microsoft Africa Analysis Institute, the Microsoft AI for Good Lab, the Mohammed Bin Zayed College of Synthetic Intelligence in Abu Dhabi, and choose universities from Kenya and East Africa.

Microsoft’s AI for Good Lab in Nairobi will use AI know-how to work with nonprofit organizations and different companions to assist handle financial and societal priorities throughout East Africa. This may embody work to reinforce meals safety through the use of superior AI strategies to make site-specific fertilizer suggestions that enhance agricultural productiveness whereas minimizing environmental impacts. It should additionally embody help for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), utilizing AI high-resolution satellite tv for pc knowledge to observe and cut back water dangers for downstream wildlife and communities in northern Kenya.

As well as, collaborating with the Kenya Crimson Cross Society, Kenya Area Company and Nationwide Catastrophe Administration Unit, the AI for Good Lab will work to enhance local weather resilience by making use of AI fashions to high-resolution satellite tv for pc knowledge for each catastrophe preparedness and catastrophe response. And in collaboration with the Smithsonian and Kenya Wildlife Belief, the Lab will use high-resolution satellite tv for pc imagery and AI to observe wildlife populations and monitor livestock enlargement close to protected areas in East Africa.

East Africa Innovation Lab and Skilling Assist

Microsoft and G42 will launch and function an East African Innovation Lab in Nairobi to assist Kenyan and different East African startups, entrepreneurs, firms and organizations develop and implement cloud and AI companies. The East Africa Innovation Lab will present design classes and speedy prototyping utilizing Microsoft instruments and know-how, with skilling and mentorship help from Microsoft builders who work within the firm’s Africa Improvement Middle, which has 500 staff in Nairobi.

To assist speed up digital adoption, Microsoft and G42 will collaborate with a big selection of native companions to offer a variety of digital and AI expertise throughout Kenyan society and create a future-ready workforce. This may embody providing digital and AI skilling applications to all authorities staff, a cybersecurity skilling program for greater than 2,000 individuals per 12 months, and a enterprise skilling program for younger entrepreneurs aged 18 to 24. The 2 firms will broaden on ongoing relationships and work with the Kenya Non-public Sector Alliance, Stanbic Kenya Basis, MPESA Basis, UNDP Kenya, Younger African Leaders Initiative, Jomo Kenyatta College of Agriculture and Expertise, and america Worldwide College-Africa.

Web Connectivity

Kenya’s Ministry of Data, Communications and the Digital Economic system will proceed to broaden work with Microsoft and G42 to broaden web connectivity. G42 and its UAE ecosystem companions will leverage their assets to help Kenya’s improvement of worldwide and home marine and terrestrial fiber cable infrastructure.

Microsoft will proceed to broaden its work to deliver last-mile wi-fi web entry to twenty million individuals in Kenya and 50 million individuals throughout East Africa by the tip of 2025. This may construct on the corporate’s partnerships with Mawingu Networks, Liquid, CSquared and different native companions in Kenya. It should additionally embody work with M-KOPA, one of many largest suppliers of photo voltaic dwelling techniques globally. As a part of a fintech financing platform, M-KOPA has pioneered a pay-as-you-go mannequin for smartphones possession, with 2 million gadgets offered to this point throughout the area.

Digital Security, Privateness and Safety

Microsoft and G42 will work with the federal government of Kenya and can design and function the brand new East Africa cloud area as a part of a “trusted knowledge zone” based mostly on world requirements to guard digital security, privateness and safety. With technical help and help from G42 and Microsoft, Kenya will set up the brand new knowledge heart as a part of a “trusted knowledge zone” below which knowledge from different nations could also be ruled by their native legal guidelines, even whereas saved and resident in Kenya.

Kenya will make the most of the brand new knowledge heart and cloud companies for governmental and citizen companies, and it’ll present authorities help by adopting a “cloud-first” coverage like these enacted in different nations to allow and encourage the federal government, its businesses, state-owned enterprises and different native entities to maneuver their knowledge and computing companies to the cloud.

The events can even work collectively to pursue the steps wanted to make sure Kenya has adequate contractual and technical assurances to help trusted digital and sovereign cloud companies from the UAE, to facilitate speedy digital transformation even earlier than the finished building of the G42-Microsoft companies in Kenya itself.

Microsoft will present cybersecurity help and help to its clients in Kenya and throughout East Africa, together with by means of the Microsoft Menace Intelligence Middle (MSTIC) and the Microsoft Menace Evaluation Middle (MTAC).

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq MSFT)creates platforms and instruments powered by AI to ship modern options that meet the evolving wants of our clients. The know-how firm is dedicated to creating AI out there broadly and doing so responsibly, with a mission to empower each particular person and each group on the planet to attain extra.

Supply: Microsoft

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