Microsoft announced the opening of its first datacentres in Africa, with the general availability of Azure from the new cloud regions in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa.
Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president, Azure Networking, Microsoft, said, "Microsoft Azure is now available from our new cloud regions in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The combination of Microsoft's global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will create greater economic opportunity for organisations in Africa, accelerate new global investment, and improve access to cloud and internet services."
Ibrahim Youssry, general manager, North, West, East, Central Africa, Levant & Pakistan, Microsoft said, "Today is a milestone moment in bringing the global cloud closer to home for African citizens and businesses. Enterprises across Africa can now take full advantage of the many benefits of Microsoft Azure, using cloud services to maintain security and meet compliance standards."
According to the Cloud Africa 2018 report, cloud use among medium to large organisations in Africa has more than doubled between 2013 and 2018.
Due to the benefits of cloud in offering efficiency and scalability, more than 90% of surveyed companies in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria have plans to increase their spending on cloud computing in the next year.
However, a secure offering remains important in maintaining this momentum, with many African CEOs concerned about cyber threats, Microsoft stated.
"Microsoft has deep expertise in protecting data and empowering customers around the globe to meet extensive security and privacy requirements, including offering the broadest set of compliance certifications and attestations in the industry," said Khalidi. "We look forward to supporting more African enterprises in their cloud journeys and offering a trusted path to digital transformation."
Youssry added, "We're working with partners to accelerate cloud readiness and adoption in Africa, ensuring enterprises can deliver services to market faster, businesses can make more data-driven decisions, and governments can better connect with citizens. As we connect more businesses to Azure, we're seeing heightened innovation in the cloud and start-ups expanding their services to new markets. The combination of Microsoft's global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will now connect businesses with even more opportunity and customers across the globe."
Azure is the first of Microsoft's intelligent cloud services to be delivered from the new datacentres in South Africa.
The company's cloud-based productivity solution Office 365 is epected to be available by Q3 of calendar year 2019, while Dynamics 365 is anticipated in Q4.
In early February 2019 Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of World Wide Worx, opened the ITWeb Cloud Summit and reflected on global hyper-scale cloud service providers Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, with the expectation that once their datacentres are opened in South Africa, it would invigorate the local cloud services market