Microsoft to Close Africa Development Center in Nigeria

by Ohepo Ohepo

The future of Microsoft’s African Development Centre (ADC) in West Africa, located in Lagos, Nigeria, is reportedly uncertain with potential plans for closure. According to industry sources who spoke to The Guardian on Tuesday, Microsoft’s management informed staff of this development on Monday, although there has not yet been an official statement from the company.

Affected employees are expected to receive their salaries until June and continue their health maintenance organization (HMO) benefits. However, details remain sparse as a source within the Microsoft Lagos office provided no confirmation or denial, stating only, “I cannot say anything on that for now. Thank you.”

The reasons behind the potential shutdown are not clear, but industry insiders suggest that it could be linked to the current economic situation in Nigeria. Notably, the ADC in East Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya, is reportedly not facing similar issues.

Microsoft’s ADC was inaugurated in Nigeria in 2022 as part of a $100 million investment by Microsoft to establish two development centers on the continent—the other being in Nairobi. Since its establishment, the Lagos centre has recruited over 120 engineers and more than 200 total employees.

At the ADC’s launch event in 2022, Gafar Lawal, the Managing Director of Microsoft ADC West Africa, highlighted the rapid recruitment progress, saying, “We intended to recruit 500 full-time engineers by the end of the year or by 2023. However, currently, we have exceeded 500. This is to tell you about the abundance of talents we have in Africa.” The launch was attended by notable figures including the then Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isah Pantami, and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The ADC was designed to boost technological innovation across Africa by developing tech solutions that address both African and global challenges. Microsoft’s statement at the time emphasized the strategic importance of the ADC, “We desire to recruit exceptional engineering talent across the continent that will build innovative solutions for global impact. This also creates opportunities for engineers to do meaningful work from their home countries and be plugged into a global engineering and development organization.”

The facility in Lagos also includes the Microsoft Garage, an initiative aimed at fostering innovation in the tech ecosystem, supporting a wide range of sectors including FinTech, AgriTech, and OffGrid energy.

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