AI in Africa

Abu Dhabi’s G42 and Microsoft to invest $1 billion in Kenya

The joint initiative to build digital infrastructure was unveiled in Washington D.C. during a state visit by Kenyan President William Ruto

U.S. President Joe Biden and Kenya's President William Ruto at the White House in Washington, DC on May 22. (Photo: Getty Images)

G42, the UAE artificial intelligence firm led by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, is establishing a foothold in Africa, building on its blossoming relationship with Microsoft.

The Abu Dhabi-based firm announced that, in collaboration with Microsoft, it will invest $1 billion in Kenya to strengthen the East African country’s digital foundations.

The joint initiative, unveiled in Washington D.C. on Wednesday during a state visit by Kenyan President William Ruto, includes building a geothermal-powered data center to run Microsoft Azure cloud computing services in East Africa.

G42 and Microsoft will also work with Kenyan partners to develop local-language AI models, create training programs to teach AI skills and establish an East Africa Innovation Lab.

Microsoft signed an agreement last month to invest $1.5 billion in G42, giving it a seat on the AI company’s board with Sheikh Tahnoon, the brother of UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed who also serves as UAE National Security Advisor and Chairman of sovereign wealth funds ADQ and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

President Joe Biden will hold a state dinner at the White House for the Kenyan leader tonight, after pledging on Wednesday to bolster the 60-year relationship between the two countries and “transform millions of lives – I mean, literally, millions of lives” with technology partnerships.

Meg Whitman, the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya and former CEO of eBay and Hewlett Packard who escorted Ruto in Washington, is profiled by Politico this week on her efforts to deepen U.S. business ties with Africa.

At the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, meanwhile, Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, pitched the emirate’s competitive advantages on Wednesday as a business partner for African firms looking to operate in the Gulf and use it as a springboard for further-flung business activities.

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