The Microsoft Africa Research Institute is a new research institute located in Nairobi, Kenya. Our mission is to understand, build and deploy innovative cloud and AI technologies which not only address core opportunities in Africa and help to solve local challenges at scale but which will create a more productive future globally. Africa is a continent of opportunity, but there are also challenges to address. By addressing these opportunities and challenges we will create the technology of the future.
The MARI will achieve its mission by tightly coupling exploratory research and with product development. As an integral part of the Office of Applied Research (OAR), the MARI will bring together researchers, engineers and designers. Further, projects will be grounded by and tightly integrated with local communities and organisations already working with these communities, to be sure of creating effective solutions to real challenges and maximizing impact. Finally, there will be a close engagement with local academic institutions to build talent and encourage a two-way flow of ideas.
In keeping with Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, MARI will focus on research to improve productivity in three broad areas: Work, Health and Society.
Work: Many organisations in Kenya are using technology to create new looser organizational structures reflecting larger trends in the future of work. By studying and designing for these new ways of working we will create new, global, AI and ML solutions.
Health: We will explore how AI-enhanced mobile technology can extend the reach, quality and effectiveness of healthcare interventions, supporting the provision of healthcare for all.
Society: The MARI will provide the perfect base to address some of the world’s biggest societal challenges. We will show how AI and analytics can be used to amplify the work of those on-the-ground and thus solve ‘local problems’ globally.