Niral Patel, the Director of Google Cloud, announced the launch of Google’s first African cloud Region in South Africa at the Google for Africa 2022 event, making South Africa a part of Google’s network of 35 cloud regions and 106 zones worldwide. This launch marks one of Google’s means of coming through on its $1bn yearly investment commitment to Africa’s digital transformation for 5 years.
Niral Patel, Director of Google Cloud Africa, explained that the project is part of the tech giant’s open and healthy ecosystem of technology solutions to support Africa’s digital transformation goals as well as create more opportunities for businesses in the region, stating that the new region is estimated to add to $2.1 billion to the country’s GDP and support the creation of over 40,000 jobs by 2030.
Cloud region is already working with customers across the continent – helping them access the benefits of digital technology and solve business-critical challenges by leveraging computer artificial intelligence or machine learning capabilities and data analytics.
Google’s Mission for Africa
Nira Patel announced that Google would expand its network through Equiano Subsea Cable and the cloud region. Equiano is Google’s private subsea cable that connects Africa to Europe. As of the time the investment was announced last year, CEO Sundar Pichai disclosed that the investment would also include landing its subsea cable Equiano, enabling faster internet speeds and lower connectivity costs. Equiano has been under development since 2019, and at the Google for Africa 2022 event, Google announced that it has so far made four landings — in Togo, Namibia, Nigeria, and South Africa.
The company will also build Dedicated Cloud Interconnect sites in Johannesburg, Capetown, Lagos, and Nairobi, enabling “full-scale cloud capability for Africa,” Patel said. He added that the new region and interconnect sites will bring cloud computing services closer to its clients, allowing its customers to choose where they would like to store their data, where they would like to consume cloud services, and enable localization of applications and services. Customers can store their data in the country if they choose to, and this choice is becoming increasingly critical as countries like Kenya implement privacy and data laws, which require companies to store their data within borders and process it through servers hosted locally.
Nitin Gajria, Managing Director of Google Africa, commented simply, “Africa is the next frontier for technology growth and adoption”. “Africa’s internet economy has a growth potential of $180 billion by 2025 which is 5.2% of the continent’s GDP, with half of the population being younger than 25 at that time. There is no other place to be”, he explained.