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[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud providers are fighting for a share of the growing Africa’s cloud market


From all the previous Africa Cloud Review articles we have published, we have been highlighting how the cloud market in Africa is growing. Cloud-based office applications have increasingly become vital components of the African modern workplace. 

As this market grows, it is generating a lot of interest and deals as cloud players and providers position themselves to take advantage of this boom.   

In May last year, African Data Centre Association (ADCA) predicted that 20 new data centre facilities will come online across Africa by the end of 2020. ADCA in a research paper noted that Africa had entered a phase of “accelerated growth” due to heightened demand for local hosting and cloud services, and that the continued development of carrier-neutral data centres will support the continent to “unleash its potential”.  By the end of that year, more players started setting up data centers across the continent. 

Africa’s data centre market is poised for massive growth this year as internet penetration rates rise and the continent begins to play catch-up with other regions. Nina Triantis the Global Head of Telecoms, Media & Technology at Standard Bank, in a column we published here on  Africa Business Communities last week notes that we should expect to see a substantial wave of data centre investments materialise across the continent, led by regional economic powerhouses including South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. For the time being, Africa accounts for less than 1% of the world’s co-location data centre supply, with South Africa accounting for the bulk of the continent’s capacity. 

Last year,  South African data centre company Teraco commenced the construction of its new hyperscale data centre with 38 megawatts (MW) of critical power load. Last month, the company’s  ACE submarine cable went live and is available for interconnection at three of Teraco’s data centres across South Africa, expanding access to broadband connectivity and digital services in Africa.  Spanning approximately 17,000 km along the West Coast of Africa, ACE lands in 19 countries before being backhauled by MTN South Africa, the landing partner, into Teraco’s data centre facilities.

These developments are important for Africa because cloud requires no on-premise storage or physical infrastructure that continuously needs to be updated. This lowers the total cost of ownership and IT maintenance costs in the long run, which is very useful for start-up companies with limited initial budgets. 

In the news

Last week, Zadara announced Africa’s largest network of interconnected, carrier-and cloud-neutral data center facilities, Africa Data Centres, and service provider Global Sense deployed Zadara’s edge cloud services to their marketplace. Zadara products and services are available in Midrand, South Africa with further expansion into all Africa Data Centre locations coming in the not too distant future.

Google also last week named Digicloud Africa the Google Cloud Expansion Partner of the Year for 2020 in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. DigiCloud is one of several of the tech giant’s reseller enablement partners in the region. Others include Incetro Africa,  an IT service provider delivering custom-built cloud-based software solutions for the European and African market.

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