SOUTH AFRICA – Microsoft announced the opening of its first datacentres in South Africa as it seeks to help firms leverage on cloud services to help them securely and reliably move their businesses to the cloud while meeting compliance needs.

The investment makes Microsoft making it the first global provider to deliver cloud services from datacentres on the continent, with the general availability of Azure-Microsoft’s intelligent cloud services – from the new cloud regions in Cape Town and Johannesburg

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president, Azure Networking, Microsoft, said that the technology presents a growth and expansion opportunity for companies in the continent  

“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,” Khalidi said.

He noted that Microsoft remains committed in ensuring a secure offering of its services to support an effective digital transformation to enterprises in the continent,  

“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,” Khalidi added.

Ibrahim Youssry, general manager, North, West, East, Central Africa, Levant & Pakistan, Microsoft added that with Microsoft Azure, enterprises across Africa are poised to use cloud services to maintain security and meet compliance standards.

Microsoft in Africa

With a network of over 10,000 local partners – and a nearly 30-year history of operating on the continent – the new datacentres is part of Microsoft’s ongoing investment to enable digital transformation across Africa.

In Kenya, Microsoft is expanding FarmBeats, an end-to-end approach to help farmers benefit from technology by enabling data-driven farming, consolidating traditional knowledge, intuition and data to help increase productivity and output.

Microsoft also launched its continent-wide 4Afrika Initiative, where in collaboration with governments, partners and start-ups it aims at developing more affordable access to the internet, 21st century skills, and locally relevant technology.

Most recently, this included a partnership with FirstBank Nigeria to expand cloud services and digital educational platforms to SME customers.

Additionally, in partnership with the African Development Bank, Microsoft is also rolling out `Coding for Employment` to create more than 25 million jobs and reach 50 million youth and women across Africa.

Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity solution, is anticipated to be available by the third quarter of calendar year 2019, while Dynamics 365, the next generation of intelligent business applications, is anticipated in the fourth quarter.

According to the Cloud Africa 2018 report, into the past five years, the use of cloud among medium to large organizations in Africa has recorded more than double growth.

Subsequently, due to its benefits in offering efficiency and scalability, more than 90 percent of surveyed companies in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria have plans to increase their spending on cloud computing in the next year.