Microsoft causing problems in the Kenya tech ecosystem by hiring all the top software engineers, creating a shortage for the existing Kenyan tech companies.
Microsoft announced it was opening an engineering hub, the Africa Development Centre (ADC), with sites in Nairobi and Lagos. It promised to spend $100m and partner with local universities to develop a curriculum to “build our talent pipeline”. “Everyone was happy to see these big tech companies come to the continent,” says Homawoo, speaking at Lori’s offices. “It was confirmation that the sacrifices that tech entrepreneurs had made five years earlier, was the right thing to do.” But not long after Microsoft entered the Kenyan market, local start-ups felt the pinch of its presence. The tech heavyweight began an aggressive hiring spree, aiming to fill 500 software engineering roles at the ADC’s two hubs by 2023. Smaller companies in the area, such as Lori, Cellulant, Twiga Foods and others, who had invested in and trained young engineers, were swiftly outbid.