Microsoft opens its first data centres in Africa

7 Mar 2019

Microsoft data centre. Image: Microsoft

New Microsoft data centres in Cape Town and Johannesburg will have the general availability of Azure.

Microsoft has become the first global provider to deliver cloud services from data centres in Africa.

Yesterday (6 March), the tech giant announced the opening of its first data centres on the continent, with general availability of Azure from the new cloud regions in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice-president of Azure networking at Microsoft, said the combination of Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure with the new regions will create greater economic opportunity for organisations in Africa. “[It will] accelerate new global investment, and improve access to cloud and internet services,” he said.

‘A milestone moment’

According to the Cloud Africa 2018 report, cloud use among medium to large organisations in Africa has more than doubled between 2013 and 2018. Due to the benefits of cloud in offering efficiency and scalability, more than 90pc of companies surveyed in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria plan to increase their spending on cloud computing in the next year.

Ibrahim Youssry, Microsoft general manager of North, West, East and Central Africa, and Levant and Pakistan, said enterprises across Africa can now take full advantage of the many benefits of Microsoft Azure. “Today is a milestone moment in bringing the global cloud closer to home for African citizens and businesses.”

Microsoft has been investing in its business offerings in Africa for quite some time now. In 2013, the company launched its 4Afrika initiative working with governments, partners, start-ups and youth to develop more affordable access to the internet and locally relevant technology. This included a partnership with FirstBank Nigeria to expand cloud services and digital educational platforms to SME customers.

The company has also established a network of more than 800 Microsoft Imagine Academies, offering students of various age groups direct training in the technology field.

Youssry said Microsoft is working with partners to accelerate cloud readiness and adoption in Africa, ensuring enterprises can deliver services to market faster and governments can better connect with citizens.

“As we connect more businesses to Azure, we’re seeing heightened innovation in the cloud and start-ups expanding their services to new markets. The combination of Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will now connect businesses with even more opportunity and customers across the globe.”

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic