200 staff likely to lose jobs as Microsoft shuts down West Africa centre in Nigeria

In what may be considered as a significant setback to Nigeria’s burgeoning tech industry, indications are that Microsoft is considering the closure of its African Development Centre based in Lagos.

Though no official statement yet, this move, if confirmed, tech industry stakeholders said would have profound implications for the country’s technological landscape, potentially impacting job opportunities and innovation in the sector.

According to inside sources Microsoft had on Monday, May 6, informed staff of the closure plans. The sources added that the affected employees are slated to receive salary payments up until June and will continue to be covered by health insurance.

A source within Microsoft Lagos office that preferred anonymity neither confirmed nor refuted the closure when contacted by our correspondent.

While the reason(s) for the planned closure remains unclear, industry sources suggest it may be as a result of Nigeria’s current challenging economic conditions.

Recall that the ADC was set up in Nigeria in 2019, and was formally launched in 2022 as part of the $100 million development centers investment initiative in Africa, with the other ADC located in Nairobi, Kenya. Since its launch, the Nigeria centre has employed over 120 engineers, growing to more than 200 total staff members.

Speaking at the launch in 2022, the Managing Director, Microsoft ADC West Africa, Gafar Lawal, said, “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 Lagos ADC was inaugurated to develop innovative technology solutions to address challenges across Africa and globally. The facility also housed Microsoft Garage, an entity launched to scale innovation in the tech ecosystem.

While we await a statement from Microsoft on its decision to close the Lagos ADC, the closure appears to affect only the ADC’s West Africa operations in Nigeria, and not its East Africa facility in Nairobi, Kenya.

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