‘Bad policies’ Forced Sacking of Microsoft’s Nigerian Team

10th May 2024

A set of hostile policies by the Nigerian government forced the Microsoft African Development Centre (ADC) to lay off its Nigerian team and shut down its West Africa operation, located in Lagos, a company source said.

The ADC was established in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, and Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital in 2019.

It is Microsoft’s initiative in Africa for an engineering centre to provide local solutions with global scalability as well as provide employment opportunities and further enhance technological innovations on the continent.

A source at the Lagos centre said that the Kenyan team brought was not affected by the lay-off.

“Bad governance and bad policies,” made the organisational restructuring that left the Nigerian staff hardest hit inevitable for Microsoft, the source said.

Microsoft has not issued an official communication on the issue but staff has been informed of the termination of their engagement.

“The Engineering team has been shut down. This was the team that came to Africa (Kenya and Nigeria),” the source said on Thursday.

“This means the Engineering Research and Development org, comprised of software engineers and program managers has closed”, it added.

A Microsoft spokesperson on Wednesday told Techpoint Africa that the centre will be operational and stated: “organisational and workforce adjustments” were necessary in managing business.”

The spokesperson did not define the “operation”, but stated that Microsoft “will continue to prioritise and invest in strategic growth areas for our future and in support of our customers and partners.”

Meanwhile, a company source disclosed that Microsoft staff in Lagos had been informed about the payment of their salaries and other remunerations till June.

Lagos, a city that accounts for more than 70% share of Nigeria’s massively growing tech community, appeared to be Microsoft’s main target to dominate the African market.

Managing Director, Microsoft ADC, West Africa, Gafar Lawal, proposed the recruitment of 500 full-time engineers by the end of 2023, one year after the launch in 2022.

“This is to tell you about the abundance of talents we have in Africa,” Lawal said.

Microsoft said the recruits were to build innovative solutions for global impact – that creates opportunities “for engineers to do meaningful work from their home countries and be plugged into a global engineering and development organisation.”