Today, tech giant Google announced the launch of its first cloud region in Africa. Located in South Africa, Google will be joining other providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure that are already existing in Africa.
The company also mentioned that it is building Dedicated Cloud Interconnect sites in Nairobi (Kenya), Lagos (Nigeria), and South Africa (Cape Town and Johannesburg). This will link the on-premises networks of users with Google’s grid.
This is a step being taken by Google to provide full-scale cloud capabilities for its customers and partners located in Africa. The company will be tapping its private subsea cable Equiano to power the sites. Equiano connects Africa and Europe and has been in development since 2019, and has made four landings (in Togo, Namibia, Nigeria, and South Africa) so far.
Following the latest development, South Africa is the newest member of Google’s global network of 35 cloud regions and 106 zones worldwide. The South Africa launch follows similar launches in Malaysia, Thailand, and New Zealand.
“We are excited to announce the first Google Cloud region in Africa. The new region will allow for the localization of applications and services. It will make it really easier for our customers and partners to quickly deploy solutions for their businesses, whereby they’re able to leverage our computer artificial intelligence or machine learning capabilities, and data analytics to make smarter business decisions as they go forward,” Google Cloud Africa director, Niral Patel said.
He added that the launch in South Africa brings cloud computing services closer to its clients and allows its customers to choose where to consume these products and services. “What we’re doing here is giving customers and partners a choice on where they’d like to store their data and where they’d like to consume cloud services, especially in the context of data sovereignty. This allows customers to then store the data in the country should they choose to do so… I guess for me the most important element is that it gives customers the element of choice,” he said.
The South Africa cloud region will bring about $2.1 billion to South Africa’s GDP and create at least 40,000 jobs, according to AlphaBeta Economics.
With Google’s launch, South Africa now houses four major cloud storage providers on the continent. “We continue to evaluate market demands as we work with our customers to see them transform and grow in these markets. We continuously make these assessments and it is on that basis, that we continue to invest,” Niral Patel said.