In March 2019, Microsoft opened the doors of data centers with Intelligent Cloud Services in Africa.
There are many opposing and some extreme debates about whether or not Africa is a lucrative continent to move into.
A common point of view is that African countries may not have the level or capacity for the same technology as all over the world, but with 52% of the African population using mobiles (634 million users by 2025), an enormous opportunity for the Cloud arises – people need a place to store and manage their data.
Research has shown that mobile use can generate an excess of R3.8 trillion and create over 4.5 million jobs in Africa by this year (2020).
To manage this data, a new app industry has been created to manage and drive business as well as services and products across all business sectors.
This in turn creates the urgent need for a reliable way to store data, to access the data, methodologies to analyse the data, and use it.
This is where Microsoft penetrated the market, becoming the first Cloud Service provider in Africa, with the Microsoft Cloud (Azure).
The combination of Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will create greater economic opportunity for organisations in Africa, accelerate new global investment, and improve access to cloud and internet services,” says the corporate vice president of Azure Networking, Microsoft, Yousef Kalidi.
Microsoft began to invest in Africa in 2013 (such as it’s 4Afrika initiative), working with start-ups, the youth, partners and governments in order to initiate affordable internet access, and technology that is locally relevant and fruitful.
As for possible interruptions and disruptions of datacenters in Africa, Microsoft managed to mitigate this risk with two new established datacenters in Johannesburg and Cape Town. In addition, a high-capacity transatlantic cable (Marea), together with the paths between Europe and India have been implemented. With this, Microsoft believes that they can provide their Cloud services to all business in Africa.
The current African market for the Cloud is approximately 24.5 billion rand; and growing at three times the rate as the rest of the world.
How is this affordable for African businesses?
Well, Microsoft Azure is unstructured and can be scaled up or down depending on what the company needs and can afford. On top of this, the business can choose where their data ‘lives’.
Regardless of who you are or where you are in the world, such an extreme shift may seem like an unnecessary threat, whether it be safety, affordability or availability. Microsoft listened, and has ensured that everybody has an equal opportunity to be a part of the new digital world – making every element of the Cloud act as pillars for your empire. Additionally, the shift is guided – we are all taking this giant leap together.