Kenyan company Sama has announced plans to hire 2,100 Kenyans to work in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, specifically focusing on computer vision artificial intelligence (AI) projects. The new employees will work on tasks such as labeling images and videos for machine learning algorithms. Sama’s decision to expand its workforce is in line with Kenya’s goal of creating 1 million BPO jobs.
Sama has been operating in Kenya since 2015 and has already hired a first batch of 600 employees. In the coming weeks, an additional 1,500 people will be hired, bringing the company’s total headcount from 3,400 to 5,500. Notably, Sama’s leadership team is comprised entirely of Kenyan nationals.
During a recent media meeting, Evelyn Njiiri, legal counsel at Sama, mentioned the possibility of partnering with the Kenyan government to teach computer vision AI in universities and promote public-private partnerships. The government, represented by the State Department of ICT and the Digital Economy principal secretary, John Kipchumba Tanui, commended Sama for its commitment to nurturing Kenyan youths in the AI field.
Sama’s decision to focus on computer vision AI work comes after discontinuing its content moderation services. Content moderation accounted for only 3% of the company’s work, and Sama has since fired 184 content moderators who have sued the company for unfair dismissal. However, Sama clarified that its exit from content moderation was a strategic business decision and not related to the ongoing case.
Sama’s move towards computer vision AI work reflects its determination to leverage its strengths and seize opportunities in the field. The company primarily employs young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, aiming to provide meaningful employment and contribute to narrowing the digital divide in Kenya.