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SA to host Google’s first Cloud region in Africa

21st October 2022

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Google plans to establish a new Google Cloud region in South Africa – its first on the continent – which will help users, developers, businesses and educational institutions across Africa to transition more information and tools online and improve access options for customers.

The move forms part of Google’s $1-billion investment commitment made last year by the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai at the first Google for Africa event.

South Africa will join Google Cloud’s global network of 35 cloud regions and 106 zones worldwide, bringing Google Cloud services closer to local customers, enabling them to innovate and securely deliver faster, more reliable experiences to their own customers.

“Along with the cloud region, we are expanding our network through the Equiano subsea cable and building dedicated cloud interconnect sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos and Nairobi. In doing so, we are building full-scale cloud capability for Africa,” said Google Cloud Africa director Niral Patel at the group’s second yearly Google for Africa event earlier this month.

Research by AlphaBeta Economics for Google Cloud reveals that the South Africa Cloud region will contribute more than $2.1-billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and will support the creation of more than 40 000 jobs by 2030.

Google Cloud is already working with customers across Africa to help solve business-critical challenges, get online and access the benefits of digital technology.

In South Africa, Google Cloud works with retailer Takealot, which built its ecommerce platform on Google Cloud, enabling the business to avoid system crashes during high- traffic periods and provide their three-million local customers a hassle-free online shopping experience.

In Kenya, Google Cloud works with technology-driven food company Twiga Foods to help them connect 1 000 farmers to 140 000 vendors, deliver 12 000 orders every day and store two-million kilograms of fresh produce.

“Technology has a significant role to play in eradicating poverty, reducing unemployment and inequality. Equitable and affordable access to technology is an important catalyst in the digital transformation journey of economies across the globe,” says Communications and Digital Technologies Deputy Minister Philly Mapulane.

“Enabling equal, affordable access to connectivity for all Africans is a start to unleashing our full potential in digital markets,” he continues, pointing out that South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030 calls for stimulating growth in the information, communication and technology (ICT) sector and innovation by driving public and private ICT investment, especially in network upgrades and expansion.

“Google’s recent efforts in this regard have been particularly encouraging,” he adds, highlighting the recently landed Equiano cable in Cape Town, which will lead to improved speeds and reduced Internet costs.

Submarine cables also contributed to a 6.1% growth in South Africa’s GDP per capita between 2009 and 2014, he says.

Further, a recent economic-impact assessment conducted by Africa Practice and Genesis Analytics found that, by 2025, the cable will accelerate economic growth, with the GDP of Nigeria rising by $10.1-billion, South Africa’s by $7-billion and Namibia’s by $260-million.

Equiano is also expected to indirectly create 1.6-million jobs in Nigeria, 180 000 in South Africa and 21 000 in Namibia, driven by the expansion of the digital economy and peripheral sectors.

Overall, Africa’s Internet economy has the potential to grow to $180-billion by 2025 – 5.2% of the continent’s GDP.

To support African entrepreneurs in growing and developing their talent, Google continues to support African small businesses through the Hustle Academy and Google Business Profiles, and to help jobseekers learn the skills they need through Developer Scholarships and Career Certifications, says Google Africa MD Nitin Gajria.

Through its $50-million Africa Investment Fund, which targets equity investments in technology startups, Google has invested in three businesses over the past nine months, namely South African mobile gaming startup Carry1st; Kenya-based e-logistics company Lori Systems; and SafeBoda, a transportation application in Uganda and Nigeria.

Earlier this year, Google announced plans to open its first African product development centre in Nairobi to develop and build better products for Africans and the world.

“We are collaborating with governments, policymakers, nongovernmental organisations, telecommunications companies, business leaders, creators and media so that we can help accelerate Africa’s digital transformation,” Gajria says.

“Last year, 7 500 career scholarships were disbursed to help young people learn new skills and build its careers, while Uganda’s AirQo received a $3-million grant to support the expansion of its work on monitoring air quality from Kampala to ten cities in five countries on the continent.”

Google is also supporting nonprofits working to improve lives in Africa with a $40- million cash and in-kind commitment.

Google recently partnered with the United Nations to launch the Global Africa Business Initiative, a global partnership aiming to accelerate Africa’s economic growth and sustainable development.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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