Microsoft recently announced plans to use data centers in Africa for the first time to deliver comprehensive, intelligent Microsoft Cloud services. This new investment is a major step forward for the Redmond-based firm, which is dedicated to enabling every individual and business in the world to succeed. It is also a symbol of recognition of the enormous opportunities that digital transformation will bring to Africa.
Expanding on existing investments, Microsoft will deliver cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365, from data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa, by 2018. These new cloud regions will deliver enterprise-class performance and reliability. This is in addition to data hosting to support growth opportunities and facilitating access to internet and cloud services for people and organisations across the African continent.
“We are delighted to see the growing demand for cloud services in Africa. They have the potential to become an economic accelerator. With cloud services that range from intelligent collaboration to predictive analytics, Microsoft cloud solutions delivered from Africa will enable developers to create innovative new applications, customers to transform businesses, and governments to better serve the needs of citizens,” said Scott Guthrie, vice president, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft Corp.
Expanding accessibility and opportunities
Currently, many African businesses rely on cloud services based outside the continent. With this new investment, Microsoft will be able to offer available, scalable and secure cloud services throughout Africa, as well as a data hosting option in South Africa. With the introduction of these new regions, Microsoft now offers cloud services from 40 regions around the world, more than any other cloud provider.
“We welcome Microsoft’s investment in cloud services in Africa. The Standard Bank Group already relies on these technologies to ensure a seamless experience for its customers,” said Brenda Niehaus, CIO at Standard Bank.
By linking its global cloud infrastructure to these new regions in Africa, Microsoft will enable businesses to access opportunities around the world, accelerate new investments, and make it easier for people and organizations to access Internet and cloud services from Cairo to Cape Town.
Investing in innovation in Africa
This announcement marks the expansion of ongoing investments in Africa, where businesses are already using mobile and cloud services as a platform for innovation in health, agriculture, education and entrepreneurship. Microsoft has focused on supporting startups and local NGOs to foster innovations that can solve some of humanity’s most serious problems, such as food and water shortages or environmental and economic sustainability. For example, the startup M-KOPA Solar uses mobile and cloud technologies to provide affordable pay-as-you-go solar energy to more than 500,000 households. AGIN has developed an application that connects 140,000 smallholder farmers to essential services, enabling them to share data and generating $1.3 million per month in financial, insurance and other services.
Microsoft has enabled :
- Connect 728,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Africa to the Internet,
- More than 500,000 of them are now using Microsoft’s cloud services,
- 17,000 are using the 4Afrika portal to promote and grow their businesses,
- 775,000 people trained on various subjects, such as digital literacy or software development.
Thus, the Microsoft Cloud also helps the African population to acquire professional skills and boost new opportunities for the 17,000 regional partners, but also for their customers.
The Microsoft Trusted Cloud
Microsoft has extensive expertise in protecting data and defending privacy, enabling customers around the world to meet stringent privacy requirements. Through Microsoft’s Trusted Cloud principles of security, privacy, compliance and transparency, and by offering the industry’s broadest range of certifications and compliance credentials, Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure supports more than one billion customers and 20 million businesses worldwide.