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Google Picks South Africa For First Cloud Region On The Continent

The tech giant is catching up to other leading providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, which made inroads into the continent a few years ago.

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Google has announced its first cloud region in South Africa, making it part of Google’s 35 cloud region and 106 zones globally.

Google revealed that it is constructing Dedicated Cloud Interconnect locations in Nairobi (Kenya), Lagos (Nigeria), and South Africa (Cape Town and Johannesburg) in order to deliver full-scale cloud capabilities to its clients and partners in Africa.

Google plans to tap its private subsea cable, Equiano, which connects Africa and Europe to power the sites. Equiano has been under development since 2019 and has so far made four landings — in Togo, Namibia, Nigeria, and South Africa. With the recent preview launches of regions in Malaysia, Thailand, and New Zealand, South Africa has now joined Google’s global network of 35 cloud regions and 106 zones.

According to Google, users can deploy cloud resources from particular geographic locations using Google Cloud regions, and they can also use a number of services like cloud storage, computation power, and key management system.

Niral Patel, Google Cloud Africa director said: “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.”

“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,” Patel added.

The ability for users to choose where they store their data is increasingly critical as countries like Kenya implement privacy and data laws, which require companies to store their data within borders and process it through servers hosted locally.

The decision to set up a region in South Africa was informed by the demand for cloud services and the market’s potential. Still, the company is looking to launch in more markets within the continent as demand for its products soars. Its early adopters include large enterprise companies, and e-commerce firms like South Africa’s take a lot and Kenya’s Twiga.

“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,” Patel added.

According to research by AlphaBeta Economics, commissioned by Google Cloud, the South Africa cloud region will contribute over $2.1 billion to South Africa’s GDP and support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030.


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