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Google Builds Cloud Region In South Africa As Country’s Tech Sector Grows

Illustration of cloud hovering over computer.

Google is joining cloud giants Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services in South Africa with a cloud service that it plans to stretch across the continent.

In an effort to scale up cloud capabilities in the region, Google plans to build a suite of interconnected sites in Nairobi, Capetown, Johannesburg and Lagos to bring on-premise networks onto Google’s grid.

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Cloud companies in Africa will have to contend with the large continent’s vast number of countries and their varying privacy and data laws, some of which are stricter than others. Google is working on solutions to make it possible for data collected in certain countries to remain in those countries.

Google’s decision to set up a cloud region in South Africa came after evaluating market potential, the company said in a statement. Per an AlphaBeta Economics report commissioned by Google, South Africa was identified as a “digital sprinter”—one of a handful of countries that represented $3.4 trillion in economic opportunity.

Underpinning startups in South Africa

South Africa is not only home to some of the largest cloud solutions in Africa, it also is home to a growing startup sector that will require strong cloud infrastructure to drive its growth.

Startups in the country have raised around $506 million so far in 2022, according to Crunchbase data. The majority of that money went toward fintech startups and companies leveraging machine learning in the manufacturing and logistics industry, all of which require strong cloud capabilities to remain efficient as they scale.

It’s impossible to overstate cloud infrastructure’s role in the rapid growth of the U.S.’ own technological advancements.

Last year, a human error at AWS led to the shutdown of Trello, Quora, and a slew of AWS-powered sites. Other outages shut down Instagram. An error in cloud company Fastly led to the shutdown of Reddit, CNN and PayPal, the latter of which is a major financial player to small businesses around the world.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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