Google is set to launch its first cloud region in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of its wider plans to invest $1 billion in the continent.
The project will leverage “Equiano”, Google’s private subsea cable that will connect Africa with Europe, running along the West Coast of Africa between Portugal and South Africa.
The new cloud region will allegedly contribute over $2.1 billion to South Africa’s GDP and will help create more than 40,000 jobs by 2030, according to research commissioned by Google Cloud.
What does this mean for users?
Google Cloud Africa director, Niral Patel, said that the new region will allow for the “for the localization of applications and services”.
In addition, the executive said the region “will make it really 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’s decision to expand its footprint in Africa may have more significance than what initially meets the eye.
Some African nations, for example, Kenya, have recently expanded their data protection regulations, which may lead more companies in the area to prioritize cloud sovereignty issues.
Any business processing personal data in the country will now have to register with Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC).
“What we’re doing here is giving customers and partners a choice on where they’d like to store their data and where they’d like to consume cloud services, especially in the context of data sovereignty,” said Google’s Niral Patel. “This allows customers to then store the data in the country should they choose to do so… I guess for me the most important element is that it gives customers the element of choice.”
Google is last among the big three cloud providers to establish a base in Southern Africa.
Microsoft launched cloud regions in Cape Town and Johannesburg in 2019, while Amazon Web Services set up a data center in Cape Town in 2020, and Oracle established one in Johannesburg in 2021.
The news comes as Google looks to scale up its presence worldwide, the announcement follows a recent preview launch of cloud regions in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand, and New Zealand.
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