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Google opens first cloud region in Africa, following AWS and Microsoft

The tech giant is intending to open a new region in South Africa, taking around two years longer than its competitors to enter the continent

Google is intending to establish a Google Cloud region in South Africa, following in the footsteps of its competitors who already opened cloud regions in the country around two years ago.

The tech giant said that South Africa will be joining Google Cloud’s global network of 35 cloud regions and 106 zones worldwide but did not offer an indication of when it will become operational.

It hopes the future cloud region will bring Google Cloud services closer to its local customers, it said, helping them to innovate and securely deliver faster, more reliable experiences to their own customers.

The South Africa cloud investment will contribute more than a cumulative $2.1 billion to the country’s GDP, and will support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030, according to research by AlphaBeta Economics for Google Cloud.

Additionally, the tech giant is also expanding its network through the Equiano subsea cable and building Dedicated Cloud Interconnect sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, and Nairobi.

“We are excited to announce the first Google Cloud region in Africa. The new region will allow for the localisation of applications and services,” said Google Cloud Africa director Niral Patel.

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“It will make it easier for our customers and partners to quickly deploy solutions for their businesses, whereby they’re able to leverage our computer artificial intelligence or machine learning capabilities, and data analytics to make smarter business decisions as they go forward.”

Google has made a slower entry to the region compared to its two major cloud platform competitors. Microsoft, for example, opened two new cloud regions in Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa in 2019.

This was the company’s first enterprise-grade data centre launch in Africa, and it claimed to be the first global provider to deliver cloud services from data centres on the continent.

Additionally, AWS opened a new region in Cape Town in 2020, taking just over a year to follow in the footsteps of Microsoft. The company said the new region would help organisations bring lower latency services to their end-users across the continent, and allow more organisations to use the AWS cloud. This was the 23rd AWS region, and first one in Africa, comprising three Availability Zones.

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