Microsoft and United Arab Emirates-based G42 teamed up on a $1 billion investment to build a geothermal data centre in Kenya, part of the tech giant’s plan to expand cloud computing services across East Africa through a new region.

G42 will lead the initial investment and handle the green data centre’s construction.

In addition to using geothermal energy, the companies stated the data centre will be designed with state-of-the-art water conservation technology.

The companies and Kenyan President William Ruto are due to sign a letter of intent on 25 May during a visit by the politician to the US. The cloud region is scheduled to become operational within two years of the parties signing definitive agreements.

Microsoft and G42’s partnership also includes R&D into a local-language AI model, digital skills training and building an innovation laboratory.

Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft, stated the partnership is the single largest and broadest digital investment in Kenya’s history.

Microsoft announced a $1.5 billion investment for a minority stake in G42 last month, an arrangement which gave it a seat on the AI company’s board.