[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud Platforms are Empowering Africa’s Digital Economy

In our last column of the Africa Cloud Review, we highlighted how the pandemic has boosted the uptake of cloud services in AfricaBusinesses in Africa are increasingly turning to cloud platforms to improve operational efficiency and COVID-19 is accelerating this adoption.

A recent report by ResearchAndMaarkets now reveals how Global And Local Cloud Platforms Are Powering Africa ‘s Digital Economy.  

This research finds that the use of standard cloud services is already widespread in the African continent, turbocharged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cloud-based office applications are increasingly vital components of the African modern workplace. The rise of the cloud in the African market ostensibly goes beyond basic office applications. From banks looking to accelerate the rollout of new applications to startups disrupting entire industries with innovative, cloud-powered models, cloud services are transforming Africa’s productive capacity and emerging as one of the most essential pillars of Africa’s digital transformation.

There is some way to go, for Africa is, in truth, a tough place for cloud services. Many countries do not offer adequate, affordable, broadband speeds; latency to cloud data centres is too high from many locations. And perhaps most of all, the cloud is fundamentally about putting trust in what you cannot see, in a region where seeing and touching are essential to trust. All the same, the upside is considerable – and cloud services represent an opportunity that only the undiscerning would be prompt to dismiss.

Cloud-based technological applications, services, and solutions afford businesses the opportunity to optimise business processes, functionality, efficiency, and growth.  This empowers them with the ability to deliver the right information to the right place at the right time. Cloud-based operations allow for access to real-time data that can be accessed from anywhere and from multiple devices. This accessibility allows for quicker turn-around time on decision-making processes, with instant and immediate access to relevant insights.

As this opportunity keeps growing SaaS governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) software leader Galvanize announced that it now provides regional hosting in Africa and South America via local AWS Regions – AWS Africa (Cape Town) and AWS South America (São Paulo) Region respectively.

IBM also announced that its hybrid cloud services are now generally available in any environment — on any cloud, on-premises or at the edge — via IBM Cloud SatelliteLumen Technologies and IBM have integrated IBM Cloud Satellite with the Lumen edge platform to enable clients to harness hybrid cloud services in near real-time and build innovative solutions at the edge.

Although cloud adoption has greatly accelerated in recent years, many businesses today still find themselves on the wrong end of the cloud revolution. Amr Eid, CEO and board member of OmniClouds attributes this reluctance to several factors with the first one being personal perception,

 “In a disruptive market environment, your background works against you, while your mindset works for you. Market dynamics are very different and doing things the same way you used to will lead to failure,” said in an article published on Gulf Business.

Bottom line, African companies need to embrace the cloud, which is ‘foundational to digital transformation’.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa

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