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[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri Muraya: Africa’s cloud adoption is accelerating with purpose


As we have previously highlighted Cloud Computing is growing big in Africa and has the potential to open African businesses to the world. This growth is a clear indication that the continent is moving forward with its instigation of cloud computing on a theatre-wide basis.

Organisations across sub-Saharan Africa are increasingly leveraging multiple cloud deployments to achieve digital transformation.

In countries like Kenya,  the “Africa in the Cloud 2020” study by World Wide Worx noted that businesses in the country are set to increase their expenditure on cloud computing services by 68 per cent in 2021 up from 38 per cent in 2020. 

The study notes that there has been an increased spend on cloud services. The big shift in spending is accredited to an increase in hyper-scale data centres within the continent. Kenya for instance increased its cloud spend by 38 per cent with South Africa leading with an 82 per cent increase in cloud uptake.

From fintech companies that are changing the way Africans send and receive money, to Agriculture, cloud technology has the power to transform how we work in emerging markets. 

There are already several cloud computing projects underway on the African continent that are being used to move countries towards attaining some goals. Last week, for example, Allgress, a global provider of automated next-generation integrated Cloud Security, Compliance and Risk Management Solutions announced its opening of a new office in South Africa. Bahwan CyberTek and Lightbend also partnered to accelerate cloud-native modernization in North Africa.

Orange Business Services, a network-native digital services company, also announced that it will design and build a new data center to provide cloud services for Egypt’s ‘New Administrative Capital’. In late January 2021, Cameroon-based group ST Digital (a pan-African IT solutions provider) launched “the first 100% African cloud” services.  In Algeria, Ooredoo deployed Nokia’s cloud-native Core software to cost effectively strengthen its network performance and reliability, and to strategically position itself for the future and the launch..

This growth, as most analysts have predicted, presents a great future for African businesses.

The World Wide Worx for example noted that the Banking and Manufacturing sectors recorded the highest spend on cloud services adoption with 53 per cent and 46 per cent respectively. 63% of the companies interviewed in the study indicated their top reasons for cloud adoption as driving business efficiency followed by operational flexibility and customer service which averaged at 53 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

Africa’s multi-cloud uptake however slightly trails Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) as a whole – F5’s latest State of Application Services report found that 88% of EMEA firms are now leveraging multi-cloud environments. However, the gap is set to close in the coming years as cloud deployments increase in frequency and technical maturity.

The Cloud in Africa 2020 Report also notes that Covid-19 pandemic has pushed cloud computing to the front of decision-makers minds. Released by market research leaders World Wide Worx, in partnership with F5, Dell Technologies, Digicloud Africa, and Intel, the study is the most comprehensive overview of existing and future cloud trends across the African continent yet.

Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, a near unanimous 91% of surveyed respondents deemed cloud computing to be “important” in helping with business’ response to the crisis.

 “Covid-19 has clearly catalysed decision-makers’ receptivity to the cloud in recent months, but a significant momentum was already building across Africa,” Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx and lead analyst on the project said.

According to World Wide Worx, cloud investment is also growing as a percentage of overall IT budgets, particularly in countries with traditionally less mature IT markets.

In 2021, almost two-thirds (61%) of all respondents from the World Wide Worx study are set to increase investments in cloud services. 36% expect investment to remain at current levels, and only 1% anticipate decreasing spend. Significantly, more than half of all respondents (56%) estimate that over a quarter of applications will have moved to the cloud by the end of this year.

Africa’s embrace of cloud computing is indeed clearly accelerating with purpose, which will have a profound impact on organisations’ abilities to innovate, create new services and compete on both a regional and global level.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa

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