Microsoft said it would invest $1 billion to build three data centers in greater Athens and by 2025 would train 100,000 people in Greece in digital technologies.
The announcement comes after nine months of negotiations with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Redmond, Wash., software giant said.
“By a substantial margin, this is the largest investment Microsoft has made in Greece in the 28 years we have been operating here,” President Brad Smith said, speaking at the New Acropolis Museum in Greece.
“In part, this reflects confidence that our world-leading data-center technology can help enable innovation and growth across Greece’s economy.”
Greece’s data centers will join the company’s current 63-region global cloud infrastructure network. The network makes Microsoft Azure cloud services available in more than 140 countries.
Microsoft’s plan to add 100,000 private-sector jobs to the Greek economy comes as the country is expected to see its economy contract by an estimated 8.2% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a government budget submitted to parliament Monday.
Nearly two years ago, Greece emerged from eight years of international bailout programs and austerity measures meant to reduce its debt load.
The spending cuts and tax increases sent unemployment rising and caused its GDP to slump nearly 25%.
This year, Greece’s debt is projected to reach 337 billion euros, or nearlry triple its gross domestic product.
“It is a long-term investment and a vote of confidence in our country’s potential,” Mitsotakis said.
“The cloud is transforming every industry and sector. The investment in skilling 100,000 citizens will empower today and tomorrow’s Greek workforce.”
At last check Microsoft shares were trading up 1.3% at $208.90.
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This article was originally published by TheStreet.