The Microsoft software testing centre, a first of its kind in Africa, will help create jobs and transfer knowledge to young engineers in Kenya. This is the latest investment and expansion into Africa by tech companies that include Facebook and Google, in an endeavour to leverage on the potential of the continent’s largely untapped market.

The launch programme, which is said to cost around KES100 million will be situated at the headquarters of the Microsoft partner Techno Brain. Currently, the facility has 20 testing units, with the expectation of installing 80 more stations as soon as possible.

At the centre’s launch, Bambo Sofola, Microsoft’s Director of Software Engineering, said, “Kenya is said to be Africa’s ultimate technology hub of the future and it is rapidly growing in that area. Microsoft is here to support and enable Kenya and Kenyan’s to excel and achieve that purpose.”

Techno Brain’s Group CEO, Manoj Shanker, said the centre is expected to employ about a 1 000 Kenyans in the next three to four years, especially engineers.

“We also expect to create more jobs in the country through the centre over the next seven years and about 3 000 to 5 000 jobs across Africa with Techno Brain, the majority of them in Kenya,” he added.

“Kenya, in particular, has a rich pool of skilled human resources. This testing centre is another great testament to the fact that we are truly committed to empowering lives through education and innovation,” he added.

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The centre will give software engineers in the country early access to the latest Windows operating system builds. This gives them the opportunity to perform complex tests for various applications before they become available on the global market.

The complicated testing process will ensure that bugs are eliminated and reported appropriately. Engineers will then make key recommendations on suggested features, UI/UX revamps and design, thus providing concrete feedback to the MS engineering team.