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No evidence for online claims that tech giant Microsoft is pulling out of Nigeria

IN SHORT: Claims of Microsoft’s departure from Nigeria have been circulating online since May 2024. But there's no credible evidence, including from the tech giant, of such a major move.

A post shared on Facebook in Nigeria reads: “Microsoft set to leave Nigeria after 24 years, citing market dynamics as reasons for leaving.” 

It adds: “By the time this present govt exhausts their 4 years, every multinational would have left and everyone will be at home.”

President Bola Tinubu began his first four-year term in May 2023.

Microsoft is a US-based multinational technology company and has been a major player in the computer industry since it was founded in 1975. 

In 2023, some multinationals exited Nigeria, citing the power crisis, the unpredictability of the country’s foreign exchange and the controversial removal of fuel subsidies, which increased prices.

Other instances of the claim appeared on Facebook here and here. (Note: See more instances listed at the end of this report.) 

But is there any truth to the claim that Microsoft is planning to leave Nigeria? We checked.

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Conflicting reports

Several local and international news outlets have reported that Microsoft is closing its Africa Development Centre in the country’s economic hub of Lagos. 

The centre opened in 2022 as part of Microsoft’s effort to train and hire engineering talent in Nigeria and West Africa.

“Microsoft has decided to close the Africa Development Centre in Nigeria, and as a result some of our employees based in Nigeria will be impacted,” Reuters wire agency on 8 May 2024 quoted an unnamed spokesperson as saying. 

However, there have been conflicting reports in the local media as to whether the company will close the centre.

Temitope Ajayi, Tinubu’s media aide, said Microsoft was not leaving the country nor closing the centre, but “realigning roles” where a few would “certainly be affected”.

According to digital media firm Techpoint Africa, also quoting an unnamed Microsoft spokesperson, only the engineering team at the centre would be laid off but it would continue to operate.

No evidence Microsoft is exiting Nigeria 

However, our search for evidence that the tech multinational is completely leaving Nigeria, as claimed in the social media posts, turned up nothing. 

At the time of writing, there was no official statement from Microsoft on its website or official X (formerly Twitter) handle about leaving Nigeria.

Given the company’s status, it would have issued a statement or spoken to the media if it were pulling out of the country.

This false claim was also posted here, here and here.

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