President of Microsoft Brad Smith speaks with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with the ancient Acropolis hill in the background, during an event on the company's new investment in Greece, at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece October 5, 2020. [Costas Baltas/Reuters]
After nine months of consultations, Microsoft Corp announced on Monday that it chose Greece to build three data centers, in different locations in Attica, placing the country at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution.
According to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who presented the agreement, together with the president of the US tech giant Brad Smith, during a ceremony at the Acropolis Museum on Monday, the expected 1-billion-euro investment will provide added value to Greece. In addition, the investment is expected to contribute to growth in general, to the transformation of the economy as a whole and to job creation.
The new data centers will establish a Microsoft Cloud region in Greece, adding it to the world’s largest cloud infrastructure footprint and delivering access to low-latency, enterprise-grade cloud services.
Government sources told Kathimerini the initiative will improve the investment climate in the country given Microsoft’s brand name and make Greece a key destination for foreign direct investment. The investment is also seen to be sending the right message to the “brain drain generation about the country’s future prospects.
Microsoft’s “GR for GRowth” initiative is touted as a significant technology commitment to support businesses of all sizes in Greece with technology and resources to create new opportunities for growth.
Moreover, Microsoft also announced its plan to skill approximately 100,000 people in Greece in digital technologies by 2025.
“Today’s commitment to the people and businesses of Greece will position the country among the digital leaders of Europe,” Mitsotakis said, adding that a Microsoft data center region provides a competitive advantage to Greece’s digital economy while also being a long-term investment and a vote of confidence in Greece’s potential.
“The cloud is transforming every industry and sector. The investment in skilling 100,000 citizens will empower today and tomorrow’s Greek workforce,” he said, adding that it doesn’t just mean the inflow of more foreign capital, additional income for the state coffers or new high-skill jobs. “It also means an added value in terms of quality,” he stressed.
For his part, Smith said that, “by a substantial margin, this is Microsoft’s largest investment in our 28 years of operating here in Greece.”
“It is not something that we do in very many places, it is not something that we do lightly,” he said.