For a long time, Kenya has been East Africa’s Tech Hub. Kenya is referred to as Africa’s ‘Silicon Savannah’. This can be greatly attributed to the rapid development of large-scale telecommunications infrastructure, growth of mobile money, and a thriving economy, about a decade ago. This telecommunication infrastructure, spearheaded by Safaricom, provided efficient and affordable info-communications & internet services. Kenya continues to be a pacesetter in Africa’s technological advancement journey and is now ranked as Africa’s leading innovation and technological hub. The recent strides by Big Tech Firms to set foot and establish their presence in Kenya speaks volumes about its position in the continent. April of this year saw tech giants make big moves in Kenya.
Which Big Tech Firms have set a presence in Kenya so far?
In April of this year, Google announced the launch of a Product Development Hub in Nairobi, Kenya. This will be the first of its kind across the continent to create transformative products and services for the African market and the world over. Google CEO Sundar Pichai, had stated last year that the tech giant plans to invest $1 billion in its Africa digital transformation programme.
After operating successfully for three years in the country, Microsoft decided to set up an African Development Centre in Kenya, March of this year. A similar centre has also been set up in Nigeria; another mover and shaker in the African technology space This futuristic state-of-the-art facility located at Dunhill Towers along Waiyaki Way, will be serving the East African community. The Sh3 billion office and labs will accommodate a team of tech talent as well as the Microsoft Garage. Microsoft Garage is an incubation hub built by Microsoft as part of its commitment to developing tech talent and scaling tech innovation in Africa.
Visa launched an innovation studio in Nairobi this April. It is the first Visa innovation Studio in Africa, but the sixth in the world. Just like Microsoft and Google, the innovation studio will be a tech hub for building products for the African market.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it is set to launch a new Local Zone in Kenya. The new AWS Local Zone will add to 16 existing AWS Local Zones across the United States and an additional 32 AWS Local Zones planned to launch in 26 countries around the world this year. AWS said that the new Local Zone in Kenya is a continuation of their investment to support customers of all kinds while accelerating innovation by bringing cloud infrastructure to more locations in the country.
What is the Kenyan Government doing?
The government of Kenya has been supportive of innovation through regulation, providing funding for tech start-ups and adopting an education curriculum that promotes technological background. Kenya made history in April as the first country in Africa to adopt a coding curriculum for primary & high school kids. Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) approved the rolling out of this program under the Kenya National Digital Master plan 2022-2032. This drive is in collaboration with education technology firm Kodris Africa, the Ministry of Education and the ICT Authority through the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP).
The digital tech space in Kenya is ripe. Kenya continues to strengthen its position as a leading regional tech innovation hub. It is on a journey to achieving large-scale industrial technology status, like other countries such as the US, UK, Japan, China and Germany.