Microsoft Kenya has been rumoured to lay off a significant number of its employees from its Africa Development Centre in Nairobi. Although it is unsure how many staff will be affected, TechWeez reported that at least 20 product managers will lose their jobs.
According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company had said that it has a massive global restructuring strategy that will run from now through to the end of Q3 2023. It was not stated which of its offices will get affected or which region the layoff will happen the most.
Yesterday, however, Kipkorir Arap Kirui who has been working as a senior manager in the product management department at Microsoft ADC in Nairobi, Kenya since 2021 announced on LinkedIn that he was laid off.
I was informed that Microsoft had made my role redundant. I have many unanswered questions, and it will take some time to come to terms with this news. However, I do find solace in knowing that it was not due to any performance-related issues
While layoff is not a new thing for the big tech giant, as it has had a continuation of gradual layoffs that has affected over 10,000 people or 5 per cent of its workforce, this particular news has come as a shock to many, particularly the African tech market as Microsoft has been seen as a major player in Kenya’s rapidly growing tech sector.
The company has been heavily invested in building partnerships with local businesses and government agencies and has been actively working to promote digital literacy and access across the country.
With this recent development, the coming months will be crucial in determining how this announcement will ultimately impact the Kenyan tech sector, and whether Microsoft’s commitment to the region will be enough to weather the storm.
Although Microsoft has not given any official statement yet, netizens have concluded that while the layoff is a full-blown crisis happening in the East African country, many affected employees might not be able to give full detail of the happenings because of NDAs.
Big tech giants like Microsoft laying off their African workers
With the global layoff wave, many companies have cut down their workforce and some have even extended the layoffs to other regional offices including in Africa. But, many of the layoff reports associated with the African workforce have always been very harsh considering the weak labour laws in many African countries.
In November 2022, Twitter fired nearly all its staff in Ghana, which was home to its only office in Africa, in a bid to “re-organise its operations as a result of a need to reduce costs”. According to report affected employees were not given the same set of severance packages as their counterparts in other countries.
Despite the Ghanaian local law, this decision by Elon Musk was carried out effortlessly. Although, at the end of that month, former Twitter employees in Ghana geared up to sue Elon Musk for firing and not paying them the required severance package according to labour laws.
Also, when Google carried out their massive layoff plan, some of Google’s Africa-based employees admitted to TechCabal that there was anxiety considering the weak labour laws in some of the African countries that somewhat offer little to no severance packages and cripple employees, leaving them at the mercy of their employers.
For this Microsoft layoff in Kenya, it is unclear what the compensation for these African employees will be as other globally affected employees have been given very attractive severance packages.