Google’s first Africa cloud region now operational


Jan 31, 2024 — Google has today said its cloud region in South Africa is operational, coming a year after the tech giant picked Johannesburg as its first site in Africa.

Cloud regions allow users to deploy cloud resources from specific geographic locations or closer to customers, and gives them access to several services including cloud storage, compute engine and key management systems.

Google says the Johannesburg region will play an important role in providing the resources that businesses “need to scale, innovate and compete in the global marketplace.”

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Today’s announcement follows the 2022 proclamation where Google also confirmed building Dedicated Cloud Interconnect sites, which link users’ on-premises networks with Google’s grid, in Nairobi (Kenya), Lagos (Nigeria) and South Africa (Capetown and Johannesburg), to provide full-scale cloud capabilities for its customers and partners in Africa. It said it would tap its now completed private subsea cable, Equiano, which connects Africa and Europe to power the sites.

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“Like all Google Cloud regions, the Johannesburg region is connected to Google’s secure network, comprising a system of high-capacity fiber optic cables under land and sea around the world. This includes the recently-completed Equiano subsea cable system that connects Portugal with Togo, Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa, and St. Helena,” Google Cloud Africa director, Niral Patel said in a statement today.

According to AlphaBeta Economics research, commissioned by Google Cloud, the South Africa cloud region is expected to contribute over $2.1 billion to South Africa’s GDP, and support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030.

Besides, Patel said in 2022, the cloud region would allow its customers and partners to choose where to store their data, and regions to access its cloud services, especially in the context of data sovereignty.

The ability for users to choose where to store their data is increasingly critical as countries like Kenya implement privacy and data laws that require companies to store and process data collected within their borders using locally hosted servers.

Google, which now has a global network of 40 cloud regions and 106 zones worldwide, joins Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Oracle amongst others with cloud regions in South Africa.