Microsoft-G42’s Kshs130 billion Geothermal Data Center Sparks Nakuru’s Economic Growth

Nauru County stands to benefit significantly from the establishment of a geothermal-powered Kshs130 billion data center by Microsoft Corp. and G42 at Olkaria in Naivasha, Governor Susan Kihika has stated.

A letter of intent formalizing the development initiative was signed on Friday as part of President William Ruto’s state visit to Washington, D.C., the United States of America.

As part of the agreement, the United Arab Emirates’ AI firm, G42, in collaboration with local partners, will design and build a state-of-the-art data center campus in Olkaria, run entirely on renewable geothermal energy.

The 1-gigawatt datacenter will provide customers access to scalable, secure, high-speed cloud, and AI services to accelerate cloud adoption and the digital transformation of businesses, customers, and partners across Kenya and East Africa.

Governor Kihika, who accompanied President Ruto on the historical visit, the first by a sitting African head of state in nearly two decades, said Nakuru County stamped its position as a preferred regional investment hub.

“The construction and operation of the data center and the infrastructure will create employment opportunities for local residents, thus improving livelihoods,” she stated while thanking the President for sealing the deal.

Setting up a regional data hub in Naivasha isn’t just about technology—it’s also about boosting the local economy. By having a green data center there, it will attract investment and stimulate economic growth in general.

The Governor explained that the establishment of the data center would lead to increased housing projects, road upgrades, improved power distribution networks, and enhanced telecommunications infrastructure.

“These improvements will ultimately support the overall development of the county, making it more attractive for further investment,” she noted, emphasizing her administration’s commitment to providing a business-friendly environment.

The presence of a cutting-edge data center, she added, will create opportunities for local residents to acquire new skills and expertise in areas such as data management, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.

“We have set up digital centers in nearly all sub-Counties. This will cultivate a highly sought-after and competitive skilled workforce, both domestically and on the international stage,” she said in a past address.

Nakuru County has embraced a set of policies, regulations, and practices aimed at simplifying and streamlining processes to attract investors and for businesses to operate more efficiently.

According to players in the energy sector, the project will showcase Nakuru County’s potential in renewable energy, specifically in powering large-scale infrastructure projects, thanks to its abundant geothermal resources.

President Ruto hailed the Olkaria green data center initiative stating, “This partnership embodies our aspiration to accelerate technological innovation and build a thriving digital economy for Africa and beyond.”

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