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Big Tech Talent War Threatens Kenya's Startups

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Jean-Claude Homawoo (standing) says his company in Kenya, Lori Systems, has lost employees to international corporations that can outbid it on salary.

Credit: Patrick Meinhardt/Financial Times

Technology giants like Microsoft that have set up operations in Kenya are poaching talent from local startups.

Road haulage provider Lori Systems and others are losing tech workers because they cannot compete with major corporations' salary offers.

Microsoft in 2019 opened the Africa Development Center as an engineering hub, with branches in Kenya and Nigeria, and pledged to invest $100 million and ally with local universities to develop a curriculum to "build our talent pipeline."

Daniel Yu at retail logistics platform Sokowatch said junior engineers are now significantly more expensive to find in Kenyan capital Nairobi, severely inhibiting startups' growth.

Laments Yu, "It becomes a perpetual brain drain as individuals are sitting in the continent, but their work is benefiting companies abroad."

From Financial Times
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