[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud services are transforming Africa’s productive capacity

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. They are emerging as one of the most essential pillars of Africa’s digital transformation according to a recent report   “The Rise Of The African Cloud – 2021report.

The report notes that cloud-based office applications are increasingly vital components of the African modern workplace. The rise of the cloud in the African market it says ostensibly goes beyond basic office applications.

Cloud services have certainly revolutionized the way African enterprises conduct their businesses, offering various benefits such as cost-effective access to computing power, on-demand applications, and services among others.

In our previous Africa review article, we highlighted how migrating to the cloud is the most effective route to digital transformation for any business. 

The Cloud Over Africa policy paper notes that much of the hype around cloud in Africa is as a result of the adoption of high-end technology and software by big industry players such as financial services, oil, and gas; and of advanced next-generation networks by the telecommunications operators. The emergence of cloud computing in Africa, the policy paper says is viewed as a natural extension of the deployment of advanced IT technologies by high-end users in both the consumer and enterprise services markets. In addition, it says cloud computing offers economies of scale that can dramatically reduce the cost to end-users.

Storing information in the cloud offers a bird’s-eye view of your data. It is easier to implement tracking mechanisms and build customized reports to analyze organization-wide information. This, in turn, enables increased efficiencies, better decision-making, and a competitive edge.

Africa is currently witnessing a revolution in new cloud and data centre capacity, with a growth forecast of 80 percent and 50 percent, but there are constraints that need to be removed.  Today, as Tonny Tugee, Managing Director at SEACOM East and North East Africa notes, businesses around the world are relying increasingly on connectivity for conducting business transactions and payments, running apps and services in cloud environments, marketing, or simply sharing information with each other.  Companies like Microsoft, for example, are said to be spending more than $100 million on a cloud development center that will employ 500 staff in the next five years.

Last week, carrier-neutral data center infrastructure provider iColo announced the construction of its third data center in Kenya to be located in Nyali, Mombasa. Called MBA2, the new data center is expected to be completed in Q1 of 2022 and is set to provide an estimated capacity of 1.6MW megawatt and 1,200 square meters of IT space.

Bottom line, mass cloud adoption across Africa has the potential to not only improve customer service, business efficiency, operational flexibility, and agility but also save costs.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

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