President William Ruto’s charm offensive seems to have paid off handsomely after two technology companies announced plans for comprehensive digital investments in Kenya.

In a statement, Microsoft and G42 on Wednesday expressed their intention to set up a Ksh132 billion ($1 billion) data centre in Olkaria.

According to Microsoft, the United Arab Emirates-owned company, G42, will lead the initial investment and handle the facility’s construction on land with abundant geothermal resources.

The initiative will be centered on four critical sectors including the establishment of a local-language Artificial Intelligence model development and research centre.

The move according to Microsoft will also provide digital jobs to Kenyans through partnerships with various local organizations.

Other critical sectors will include the construction of the East Africa Innovation Laboratory coupled with broad AI digital skills training, and international and local connectivity investments.

Another fundamental resource will be the provision of support for safe and secure cloud services across East Africa.

“To help accelerate digital adoption, Microsoft and G42 will collaborate with a wide array of local partners to provide a range of digital and AI skills across Kenyan society and create a future-ready workforce,” Microsoft announced.

Following the agreement, a letter of intent formalizing the relationship will be signed on Friday as part of Kenyan Ruto’s state visit to the United States.

The letter sealing the deal will be signed between Microsoft, G42, and Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy.

Kenya is set to utilize the new data center and cloud services for governmental and citizen services.

The new plant will also provide government support in adopting a “cloud-first” policy like those enacted in other countries to permit and encourage the government to move their data and computing services to the cloud.

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