6 March 2019 – Starting today, Microsoft’s first datacentres in Africa are open to customers, with the general availability of Microsoft Azure from new cloud regions in Johannesburg and Cape Town. This investment will drive significant growth, in line with both the continent’s digital transformation objectives and the realisation of new economic opportunities. The launch also makes Microsoft the first global provider to deliver cloud services from datacentres on the continent, with these two new regions joining the 54 available and announced regions worldwide, more than any other cloud provider.
Azure is the first of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud services to be available from the new Microsoft cloud datacentres in Africa and will be followed in the future by Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity solution, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, the next generation of intelligent business applications.
Cloud adoption continues to grow
Over the past five years, businesses across the continent have increasingly realised the significant benefits of operating in the cloud. According to the Cloud Africa 2018 report, use of the cloud among medium and large organisations has more than doubled from less than 50 percent in 2013 to pervasive use in 2018.
While Kenyan and Nigerian businesses see business efficiency and scalability as the most significant benefits of cloud computing, South African companies view time-to-market and speed of deployment as the greatest advantage.
Access to a more secure cloud offering
While companies know the importance of cloud, African businesses are still concerned about cyber threats, so the security and reliability of cloud services are pivotal when discussing digital transformation. At the same time, cloud services can help meet compliance for evolving laws around data protection, which have become increasingly focused on data residency requirements.
With locally delivered cloud services from datacentres in South Africa, companies now have the option to move to the cloud while maintaining security and meeting compliance needs in addition to benefiting from improved performance, afforded by the closer geographic location of the new datacentres.
Driving economic growth through digital transformation
The new datacentres are the latest example of Microsoft’s ongoing investment to enable digital transformation across Africa.
In 2013, Microsoft launched its continent-wide 4Afrika Initiative, working with governments, partners, start-ups and youth to develop more affordable access to the internet, 21st century skills, and locally relevant technology.
As just one example of other strategic investment initiatives in Africa, Microsoft is also expanding FarmBeats, helping farmers benefit from technology, to Nairobi, Kenya. FarmBeats strives to enable data-driven farming, coupling data with farmer’s knowledge, to increase farm productivity and help reduce costs. The work in Nairobi will address the specific challenges of farming in Africa, with the intent of expanding to other countries across the continent.