In recent times, multinational software companies are increasingly becoming invested in the African region. Between 2019 and 2022, multinational cloud providers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Oracle cloud, and now, Google cloud, have all launched data cloud regions on the continent, specifically South Africa.
In 2021, Google held its first Google For Africa event where it expressed its intent to invest 1B dollars into the African technology ecosystem. As part fulfilment of this commitment, this year Google has announced its intent to launch a Google Cloud region in South Africa, which will be the first Google data centre on the continent. Along with the Cloud region, Niral Patel, Google Cloud Director for Africa, also announced that Google will also be expanding their network across sites in Cape town & Johannesburg (South Africa), Lagos (Nigeria), and Nairobi (Kenya) via the Equiano subsea cable.
Presently, Google has 35 cloud regions, 106 zones, and 173 network edge locations across 200 plus countries globally.
What is a Cloud Region and why is Google building one in Africa?
Put simply, a cloud region represents an actual geographical location where your data stored in the ‘cloud’ is being kept. A region is a specific geographical location where you can host your resources. Cloud service providers like Google have data centres used to store and support large amounts of server hardware scattered across different countries.
Niral Patel stated in this year’s Google For Africa event, that the South African cloud region will contribute a cumulative 2.1 billion dollars to the country’s GDP and will support the creation of over 40,000 jobs by the year 2030’ the new region will allow for localisation of application and services making it easier and faster for businesses to use google compute, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and data analytics tool to make smarter decisions. According to the Google Cloud director, this economic assessment was made by AlphaBeta, a strategic economics consultancy company.
Delivering cloud services in a specific geographic location helps cloud computing service providers scale. It also allows customers and businesses to decide on what country they would like their data stored in and where they would like to consume cloud services, which is a measure of data sovereignty.
With Google’s intent to launch a cloud region in South Africa, the African country now houses data centres for four multinational cloud service providers on the continent.