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Africa’s cloud appetite a boost for its ICT sector

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Stephane Duproz, CEO of Africa Data Centres.
Stephane Duproz, CEO of Africa Data Centres.

The influx of global providers delivering cloud servicesfrom data centres in Africa is not only “fantastic” news for them but also for the continent’s ICT sector.

This was the sentiment shared by Stephane Duproz, CEO of Africa Data Centres, speaking at the ITWeb Cloud, Data Centre & DevOps Summit, at The Forum, in Bryanston, earlier this week.

Duproz told the audience such a move will drive growth; it is going to attract other worldwide providers and help develop the digital ecosystem, which is a key a driver for the development of data centres in Africa.

“They are already doubling their capacity and that is fantastic news for everyone,” he said. “Not only are they doubling their capacity in South Africa, but they can go back to their headquarters and say we are doing well in Africa.”

This may in turn get them thinking about opening data centres in Kenya or Lagos, he pointed out.

The African continent has seen increased cloud appetite over the past year. Software giant Microsoft became the first global provider to deliver cloud services from data centres on the African continent, opening two data centre regions in SA in March last year.

Similarly, enterprise software company Oracle announced last September plans to launch data centres in SA, while fellow US-based company Amazon Web Services is expected to open data centres in the country sometime this year.

According to Duproz, data sovereignty is a big trend in the African data centre market.

This rise is driven by the need to determine where African data is stored, he stated. “Our data is not in Africa, we need to bring it back. African data is very often in Europe.”

For example, Kenya, which is the leader in this area, has said Kenyan data will not go out of the country. “This means, everybody wishing to use Kenyan data needs to have its infrastructure in Kenya.

“The immediate consequence is that global cloud service providers will set up data centres in that specific country.”

Duproz continued to say one of the key missions of data centre operators is to bring African data back to the continent, adding that a lot of governments on the continent are wishing to build their own data centres.

“The reason for this is that governments’ use of the digital ecosystem and data centres is delivering huge profits and savings for them,” he concluded.

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