Oracle expands global cloud footprint to meet continued triple-digit growth

Oracle has announced plans to expand its cloud region footprint to support strong customer demand for Oracle Cloud services worldwide.

Over the next year, Oracle will open 14 cloud regions with new locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Upcoming cloud regions include Milan (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden), Marseille (France), Spain, Singapore (Singapore), Johannesburg (South Africa), Jerusalem (Israel), Mexico, and Colombia.

 Additional second regions will open in Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.), Saudi Arabia, France, Israel, and Chile. Oracle plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022, continuing one of the fastest expansions of any major cloud provider.

Oracle provides a broad and consistent set of cloud services across 30 commercial and government cloud regions in 14 countries on five continents to serve its growing global customer base. OCI currently operates 23 commercial regions and seven government regions, in addition to multiple dedicated and national security regions.

“Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has seen stellar growth over the past year,” said Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “We’ve introduced several hundred new cloud services and features and are continuing to see organizations from around the world increasingly turn to OCI to run their most mission-critical workloads in the cloud. With the additional Cloud regions, even more organizations will be able to use our cloud services to support their growth and overall success.”

To help customers build true business continuity and disaster protection, while helping them address their in-country data residence requirements, Oracle plans to establish at least two cloud regions in almost every country where it operates. The U.S., Canada, U.K., South Korea, Japan, Brazil, India, and Australia already have two cloud regions.

Oracle’s strategy is to meet customers where they are, enabling customers to keep data and services where they need it. Customers can deploy Oracle Cloud completely within their own data centers with Dedicated Region and Exadata Cloud@Customer, deploy cloud services locally with public cloud-based management, or deploy cloud services remotely on the edge with Roving Edge Infrastructure.

High Availability, Disaster Protection, and Dual Region Cloud Strategy

OCI’s next-generation architecture provides a high-performing, resilient foundation for cloud services, while its physical and virtual network design maximizes performance and security. For example, each Oracle Cloud region contains at least three fault domains, which are groupings of hardware that form logical data centers for high availability and resilience to hardware and network failures. Some regions (Ashburn, Phoenix, Frankfurt, and London) provide further resilience to entire data centers through multiple availability domains (ADs), which each contain three fault domains.

For business continuity and compliance requirements, Oracle’s unique dual-region cloud strategy enables customers to deploy resilient applications in multiple geographically separated locations—without having sensitive data leave the country. To help customers plan data center deployments to meet application requirements and optimize their cloud infrastructure, OCI’s provides a no cost inter-region latency dashboard that provides insights into real-time and historical latency for Oracle Cloud regions around the globe.

Sustainability

Oracle is committed to sustainability and has pledged to power all Oracle Cloud regions worldwide with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

Several Oracle Cloud regions, including regions in North America, South America, and Europe are already powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and all Oracle Cloud regions use state-of-the-art energy management and cooling technologies to minimize their impact on the environment.

As part of its renewable energy clean Cloud initiative, Oracle reused or recycled 99.6 percent of its retired hardware in FY21 while strictly adhering to Oracle’s data privacy and security practices.

Cloud Regions Deliver All Cloud Services and Multicloud

Oracle Cloud regions support every Oracle service and feature and are available to customers anywhere in the world. This includes Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes, Oracle Cloud VMware solution, and Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications.

OCI’s extensive network of more than 70 FastConnect global and regional partners offer customers dedicated connectivity to Oracle Cloud regions and OCI services—providing customers with the best options anywhere in the world. FastConnect provides an easy, elastic, and economical way to create a dedicated and private network connection with higher bandwidth, lower latency, and more consistent performance versus public Internet-based connections.

In addition, OCI and Microsoft Azure have a strategic partnership that enables joint customers to run workloads across the two clouds. This partnership provides a low latency, cross-cloud interconnect between OCI and Azure in eight regions (Ashburn, Toronto, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, San Jose, Vinhedo and Frankfurt), federated identity for joint customers to deploy applications across both clouds, and a collaborative support model. Customers can run full stack applications in a multi-cloud configuration, while maintaining high-performance connectivity without requiring re-architecture.

They can also migrate existing applications or develop cloud native applications that use a mix of OCI and Azure services.

www.oracle.com

Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Africa Legal launch online courses on legal tech

Liquid Intelligent Technologies through its innovation and partnerships arm Liquid Labs, has partnered with Africa Legal, an organisation that connects legal professionals across the African continent to launch three online courses on legal technology. 

The courses are targeted at supporting career development amongst students, budding entrepreneurs, and lawyers.

Liquid Labs aspires to make relevant tech training programmes accessible to students and professionals to bridge the affordability and digital divide, the main deterrents to increased access. The courses will offer targeted training for lawyers and the business community to enable working people to upskill and embrace the opportunities of the digital world.

According to Ben Roberts, the Group Chief Technology, and Innovation Officer at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, “New technologies are challenging the way Africans do things in their everyday lives. For instance, innovations like blockchain deliver smart contracts using digital tech platforms. The advancement of such innovation means that the fourth industrial revolution will create challenges and opportunities at the intersection of law and tech. ‘’

‘’We’ve partnered with Africa Legal on these courses to better equip lawyers through technology, and support technologists to engage with the law. Our aim is to empower and encourage professionals and students in both sectors and to help them leverage these opportunities.” he says. 

The courses on offer are Leveraging off Legal Technology to Grow Your Firm that encourages students to conduct their business in a way that leverages the inherent benefits of legal technology, Change Management for Lawyers that provides the learner with critical change management perspectives relevant to any area of development within their business and Fundamentals of Business Law for Entrepreneurs. This course is designed for emerging entrepreneurs. It provides the platform of legal knowledge required to begin to grow a business from initial start-up to becoming investment ready and will share some insight into what to look for when partnering with a law firm that will be a valuable ally in growing your business.

Africa Legal’s Chief Executive, Scott Cowan, said he was delighted by the partnership which was in line with the platform’s vision of building networks, reinforcing pan-African relationships in the legal community, and building capacity.

“This is just the beginning of an exciting journey and we look forward to offering so much more to our Africa Legal community by way of news, job opportunities and education,” he said.

The courses have been formulated with the vision to augment digital transformation across the continent and provide the right know-how needed for budding entrepreneurs to successfully and efficiently operate in their businesses. These courses from Liquid Labs and Africa Legal will deliver practical knowledge and understanding that will focus on developing critical-thinking skills for students by presenting real-life scenarios, conflicts and solutions in order for them to master the lawyer-based thinking approach in life and their professional paths ahead.

The courses will launch on 4 November 2021. Interested students can now pre-register here.

www.liquid.tech

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is transforming the education sector in Africa

In our last Africa cloud review column, we highlighted how cloud can help power smart cities in Africa. Cloud provides the digital infrastructure for smart cities: in other words, a city’s cloud will function as a storage and analysis system for the data used in everything.  

Other than smart cities, the education sector in Africa is also poised to benefit from cloud. 

In an interview with IT News Africa back in 2019, head of E-Learning at the University of Pretoria, Dolf Jordaan noted that the cloud is transforming teaching and learning as we know it, while fast-tracking education improvement from primary school to university. ‘’It allows educators the ability to collaborate on content, share information, and even asses projects,’’ he says.

Cloud computing helps students, teachers, and administrators alike. It allows students access to homework wherever there’s an internet connection, teachers to instantly upload learning materials, and administrators to easily collaborate with one another and save money on data storage. 

When the pandemic most African schools decided to take their learning online. Virtual learning finally became a reality. In Kenya, the government introduced a new digital learning model to 24,000 public schools so that virtual learning in Kenya is accessible to all children. Using cloud, schools were able to save money on licenses, hardware, power, and support. Additionally, schools were able to access online editions of textbooks which saved money and ensured students are learning from the most recent books.

The benefits of cloud in education are massive. The safety, stability, and ease of use of cloud computing in education in Africa is resulting in widespread adoption in educational institutions of all sizes and types.

From 3-4 November 202, Google cloud will also be hosting a government and education summit. You can read all about this online event and how to register here

In the news

Oracle announced that it has selected Johannesburg for its first African Cloud region. Microsoft added Availability Zones to Cloud regions in South Africa and South Korea, while seemingly de-listed a second region in South Africa. Maher Al-Khaiyat, the regional business applications director for Microsoft MEA in a column published on Kenya’s Business Daily also highlighted how cloud-based IT solutions can help firms manage change

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

Samsung AI Forum 2021 Explores Future of AI Research

Samsung Electronics announced today that it will hold the Samsung AI Forum 2021 online via its YouTube channel for two days from November 1 to November 2. Marking its fifth year, the forum gathers world-renowned academics and industry experts on artificial intelligence (AI) and serves as a platform for exchanging ideas, insights and the latest research findings, as well as a platform to discuss the future of AI.

Day 1: AI Research for Tomorrow

On Day 1, which will be hosted by Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), Samsung’s R&D hub dedicated to cutting-edge future technologies, Dr. Kinam Kim, Vice Chairman & CEO of Device Solutions at Samsung Electronics, will deliver the opening remarks. Under the theme, “AI Research for Tomorrow”, renowned AI experts will discuss various AI technologies and the research direction on AI — from fundamental research to its applications – including how AI research will impact other fields such as new material development and semiconductors.

This year, Professor Yoshua Bengio, the winner of the 2018 Turing Award — often referred to as the Nobel Prize in computing — will deliver the keynote. The keynote speech will be followed by three technology sessions: Scalable and Sustainable AI Computing, AI for Scientific Discovery and Trustworthy Computer Vision.

In particular, in this year’s forum, various AI startups will provide an overview of the current trends in cutting-edge AI technology and share their actual business application models. In addition, the AI research leaders at SAIT will participate in the forum as speakers and give presentations on the current status and vision of Samsung’s AI research.

The Samsung AI Researcher of the Year awards,1 which were established last year in an effort to discover excelling rising researchers in the field of AI, will also be presented during the forum. Last year, five researchers including Professor Kyunghyun Cho of New York University were awarded.

As the co-chairs of this year’s forum, Dr. Gyoyoung Jin, President and Head of SAIT and Professor Bengio, who was appointed as the Samsung AI Professor last year, will continue to cooperate to highlight outstanding rising researchers and expand the base of AI research.

“This year’s forum will be organized as a venue for sharing the current status of AI technology research and AI applications as well as discussing ways to transform AI into a technology that substantially contributes to our daily lives,” said Professor Bengio.

Day 2: AI in a Human World

Day 2 sessions will be hosted by Samsung Research, the company’s advanced R&D hub that leads the development of future technologies for its Consumer Electronics division and IT & Mobile Communications division. Under the theme “AI in a Human World”, Dr. Sebastian Seung, President and Head of Samsung Research, will deliver the opening remarks, and AI experts who have been actively engaging in AI research activities worldwide will share their insights on the current status of AI and future research directions that will have an important impact on our lives.

The keynote will be delivered by Professor Leslie Valiant, the 2010 Turing Award winner, of Harvard University on the subject of integrating machine learning and inference for next-generation AI. This will be followed by technology sessions: Interpretability for Skeptical Minds and Understanding Matter with Deep Learning.

Dr. Daniel Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Samsung Research Global AI Center, will preside over an in-depth panel discussion with the speakers regarding the ‘future prospects and considerations of each AI sector’.

Lightning talks (5-minute speeches, 7 sessions) will also take place this year where members of the Samsung Research Global AI Center and 5 AI centers (Cambridge, U.K.; New York, U.S.; Toronto, Canada; Montreal, Canada; and Moscow, Russia) will take part.

“This year’s AI Forum will help us better understand where the current AI technology developments are heading and also about AI applicable products which are becoming smarter,” said Dr. Sebastian Seung, President and Head of Samsung Research. “I expect that many people who are interested in AI will participate in the forum since it will be held as an online event this year.”

The event will be open to anyone who is interested in AI. Registration is available through the Samsung AI Forum 2021 Website from October 6 to the respective event dates.

www.samsung.com

Facebook announces winners of 2021 Community Accelerator Program in Africa

Facebook announced the winners of the 2021 Facebook Community Accelerator Program, highlighting the 13 Facebook community leaders from Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya who will receive training, mentorship and up to $50,000 USD in funds to invest in an initiative that extends their community’s positive impact. The 13 winners emerged out of over 13,000 applicants who entered the competition.

The Community Accelerator is part of Facebook’s Community Leadership Program, a program to help leaders harness the power of their community to turn impactful ideas into action. Leaders will learn how to harness the power of their community to turn impactful ideas into action. This year’s cohort features a diverse spectrum of communities engaged in interesting social impact activities ranging from combating child sexual abuse to helping moms and sharing stories of ordinary and extraordinary Nigerians from around the world.

“We are excited to announce the 13 Facebook community leaders in Africa who have been helping to resolve social challenges, empowering their audiences with knowledge while connecting with others that share their interests or passion for a cause.” Kiran Yoliswa, Partner Management Lead, Middle East and Africa Community Partnerships at Facebook said . “At Facebook, we are committed to helping people realise their full potential through initiatives like this. We want these community leaders to use the Facebook platform to drive change and provide support and encouragement for thousands of people. We are impressed with the outcome of this year’s Community Accelerator and we look forward to helping our 2021 community Accelerator winners amplify their influence for greater work.”

Community leaders from across Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa as part of the Facebook Community Accelerator include:

Achimugu Elizabeth, Protect The Child Foundation from Nigeria: Protect The Child Foundation is committed to protecting and defending the innocence of children against all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation. Our vision is to have a world that is safe for children to live in. A world free from child sexual abuse and all forms of abuse.

Godwin Juliet, Naija Graphic Designers from Nigeria: Established in 2008, this creative community connects the graphic design industry in Nigeria and beyond with the aim of supporting, up-skilling and offering opportunities for graphic designers to raise industry standards. The community connects employers with freelancers, as well as supporting women creatives.

Izevbokun Osamakue, Mothers, Kids And More from Nigeria: Impactful community empowering Nigerian and African women (and their children) to help each other to progress in their personal and professional lives. The community’s aim is to extract and recognise the potential within and without, and empower women to reach out to other women when they need help. Their long-term mission is to have the opportunity to have a centre where women can come in and get empowered.

Michael Louisa, Natural Hair Babes from Nigeria: Large community focused on natural hair, sisterhood and cultural and economic empowerment for Nigerian women and girls. They created an entrepreneurial sales network in November 2020 when we launched our flagship product, a natural hair herb which is very effective in the maintenance of natural hair, so far, 160 women have been empowered as distributors.

Mwaniki Sam, Teachers’ Notice Board Kenya from Kenya: This group is geared towards national cohesion and integration by bringing together teachers, trainees and tutors from all Teacher Training Colleges in Kenya to build relationships, share job vacancies and promote businesses.

Nworah Martin, Tales of Nigerians from Nigeria:  Tales of Nigerians is an emotional support and mental wellness community where members have a safe space to share their real life experiences. Through community events, trainings’ and on-ground outreach, we have directly impacted around 20,000 members. Our positive impact for the long-term is to continue equipping our growing members with the right tools to grow their emotional intelligence, mental wellness and synergy with other members.

Ogudoro Peter, Nigerian Teachers from Nigeria:  This community for Nigerian teachers has the big ambition of changing the country’s education system one teacher at a time. Community is made up primarily of teachers who are not receiving good training services from their employers for the very important jobs they do. The  community is focused on helping them to acquire the skills they need to make Nigeria’s education system globally competitive.

Olisa Enoch, Prepare for JAMB UTME from Nigeria: Prepare for JAMB UTME helps students prepare for Nigeria’s university admission exam with learning resources and news. Their long-term mission is to have all the learning resources (exam syllabus, quizzes, study notes, videos, question and answer forum) all in one place, which members should be able to access freely or through a subscription service.

Philip Udeochu, Portfolio 9 (Community) from Nigeria: is a Digital Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Platform (DEEP) with a mandate to bring entrepreneurship and vocational education to people at the bottom of the pyramid in Africa using social media. P9’s mission is to make entrepreneurship accessible by ‘simplifying’ and ‘innovatively’ delivering it to everyone’s doorstep through collective and interactive learning and support, using social media systems and tools. P9 has supported the learning needs of a growing community of over 500k members (currently).

Ramuada Tshililo, South African Arts & Culture Youth Forum from South Africa: SAACYF is a community that trains and empowers underprivileged artists from township and rural areas in South Africa through partnership with other organisations, businesses and governments. Their aim is to make Arts, Culture & Heritage opportunities accessible to poor disadvantaged artists through job creation.

Splinters Lucretia, The Official Ocean View/Slangkop Group from South Africa: Ocean View (originally named Slangkop) was established in 1968 by the apartheid government as a township for forcibly removed coloured people. The community is historically disadvantaged, poverty-stricken and affected by a wide range of social ills. The FB group fosters safety and security, as well as delivering education, hospital care, feeding and community upliftment programmes to empower the local population.

Urhefe Ofejiro, Naija Nurses Forum from Nigeria: Established in 2012, this is a community for nurses across Nigeria who collaborate in providing quality and accessible healthcare services to individuals, whilst supporting each other and sharing best practices in their profession.

Wala Amakove, Wanderlust Diaries Ltd from Kenya: brings together a community of travellers to share stories. Founded during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, this mega community of African travellers promotes eco-tourism in Kenya and other African countries as a driver for community development.

To develop their community, all of the selected leaders spent five months learning from experts, coaches, and a customized curriculum. They learned community identity foundations, leading action-oriented programmes and sustainability. They also had early access to new Facebook products aimed at helping communities better manage and activate their members.

What participants will do?

Strengthen their community: Learn from experts, coaches and a customized curriculum so their community can work better together.

Plan your initiatives: Identify important initiatives that will create a positive impact on the broader world and develop a plan to mobilize their community around their goals.

Execute: Collaborate on their initiatives with top advocates and leaders in the community space and utilize new products aimed at helping them manage and activate their members.

www.facebook.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud can help power smart cities in Africa

The term Smart City is not a new one and, while some examples already exist on the African continent, it is not as widespread as it should be. From Accra to Cape Town to Nairobi, turning Africa’s megacities into tech and data hubs of the future.

Like Smart City initiatives across the world, cities in Africa are initiating tech and data-driven solutions to overpopulation issues caused by drastically increasing urbanization. What role is cloud playing in this?

According to Clive Charlton, Head of Solution Architecture for Sub-Saharan Africa at Amazon Web Services (AWS), connectivity, public policy and cloud skills are among the key challenges facing African cities as they move to become smart cities. The deployment of Smart Cities heavily relies on the advances achieved in cloud technologies. To speed up their sustainable development, these cities need to be on the cloud.

Cloud provides the digital infrastructure for smart cities: in other words, a city’s cloud will function as a storage and analysis system for the data used in everything. PCs and server files, web page meta-data, images and video and data created by machine-to-machine communication will all be housed in the cloud.

As it stands, African cities already have the opportunity to go smart, thanks to high cloud adoption.

Countries like South Africa already have a wide range of domestic fibre network providers, with new fibre network providers like Vuma providing an open access fibre network resold to a number of retail service providers, with download speeds of up to 1 Gbps (the highest in Africa).

There are also five key international subsea cable systems connecting South Africa. The country has seen a rapid introduction of new CSPs, with Microsoft Azure Cloud and AWS entering the market as a gateway for the rest of Africa. Amongst new CPS is Alibaba Cloud which said it intended to enter the South African market but as yet has not entered.

South Africa has 12 DC providers with over 40 Data Centre Facilities. There has been new Data Centre build announcements with one of them being Global Data Centers, a subsidiary of NTT Ltd, announcing at the of September 2020 the build of a new Data Centre facility at the Central Point Innovation District in Johannesburg called Johannesburg-1.

Cloud adoption—including hybrid and multi-cloud adoption—is expanding fast among both private and public sector organizations of all sizes. And as we mentioned in a previous column, the continent is suited to jump to the cloud more than its peers. This will in turn accelerate the growth of smart cities in the region.

If we explore the applications of cloud computing, there are multiple benefits as to why smart cities should opt for it.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

Andela Announces $200M Investment Led by SoftBank

Andela, the global network for remote engineering talent, has announced $200 million in Series E financing. The financing round which was led by Softbank Vision Fund 2 now values the company at $1.5 billion.

Other participating investors include WhaleRock and existing investors including Generation Investment Management, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Spark Capital. Lydia Jett, Founding Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers and one of the most respected consumer technology investors in the world, will join Andela’s Board of Directors.

Andela helps companies build remote engineering teams by providing them with access to the best software engineers in the world. Launched in Africa in 2014, the Andela network today represents engineers from more than 80 countries and six continents. Through Andela, thousands of engineers have been placed with leading technology companies including Github, Cloudflare and ViacomCBS. 

“Andela has always been the high-quality option for those building remote engineering teams. Now that the world has come to embrace remote work, Andela has become the obvious choice for companies because we can find better talent, faster,” said Jeremy Johnson, CEO and co-founder of Andela. “If you are a talented engineer, Andela opens up a world of possibilities for you, no matter where you are based.”

With a successful placement rate of 96%, Andela has mastered the ability to evaluate the technical skills and soft skills of engineers to match them to the teams they’ll be most successful in. With the new capital, the company will invest in developing products to simplify global hiring and make engineers’ lives easier. In addition, Andela will continue to expand its talent offering beyond software development to include new verticals such as design and data after launching Salesforce development earlier this year.

“Hiring remote technical talent is one of the top challenges that companies face today. We believe Andela will become the preferred talent partner for the world’s best companies as remote and hybrid work arrangements become the norm,” said Lydia Jett, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “We are delighted to support Jeremy and the Andela team in their mission to connect these companies with brilliant engineers, and in the process, unlock human potential at scale.”

A fully remote organization with more than 300 employees around the world, Andela is hiring top talent across the board, particularly in product, engineering, and growth. 

andela.com

Samsung Electronics launches its first-ever MENA newsroom

Samsung Electronics announced the launch of Samsung Newsroom Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which will serve as the official news source of Samsung Electronics for MENA media and consumers. This launch comes in line with the company’s mandate to cater to customers and keep them informed about Samsung’s latest updates and announcements in Arabic in order to resonate more with audiences in nine MENA countries.

The first Samsung Newsroom in the MENA region will feature a wide range of content, from press releases and features of Samsung’s products to high-quality images and videos as well as announcements on product launches and company initiatives. The newsroom will incorporate customized Arabic content for the broader audience in the MENA region, feature Samsung MENA spokespeople and highlight regional topics, initiatives and activities.

The newly launched newsroom is the 33rd Samsung Electronics Newsroom to launch around the world. 

news.samsung.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: African Banks Increasingly Embracing Cloud

Financial services in Africa such as banks and insurance firms are beginning to embrace cloud as they seek to modernize their solutions. The bank of 2030, according to Deloitte, will look very different from today. Facing changing consumer expectations, emerging technologies, and alternative business models, banks need to start putting strategies in place now to help them prepare for this future.

Banking and capital markets leaders in the region are increasingly recognizing that cloud is more than a technology; it is a destination for banks and other financial services firms to store data and applications and access advanced software applications via the internet.

Last week, technology leader IBM announced that major financial institutions across Africa have selected its hybrid cloud and AI capabilities to unlock digital innovation. These banks include EcoBank, Nedbank, Attijariwafa Bank, United Bank of Africa, Co-operative Bank of Kenya, and Banco Mais.

The solutions, according to IBM, continue to help these banks continue their work to develop digital-first solutions, ultimately broadening access to financial services on the continent.

Telecommunications and network provider BT also announced a portfolio of industry-tailored solutions to help financial services firms take a controlled approach to adopting cloud.  BT Cloud Control for Financial Services helps customers’ IT teams address the challenges they face in balancing the risks and rewards of moving their applications and secure data to the cloud; it helps chart the path to growth and delivering outstanding digital experiences.

Cloud allows financial institutions to modernize their operations and truly adopt all aspects of digital transformation. It makes new product and services easier to develop and also allows banks to not heavily invest in dedicated hardware and software with a limited shelf life, nor the manpower to maintain it. Instead, financial institutions can buy into the infrastructure of a secure, dedicated cloud service provider and focus on driving more money into their business.

In 2020, a new report co-authored by Genesis Analytics (the largest economics-based consulting firm in Africa) and Orange Business Services, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, concludes that cloud computing solutions could help African banks to reduce costs significantly and provide financial services to poorer people who are currently either underserved or unbanked. The report highlights the critical role that regulators should play.

Cloud computing, the report noted, creates an opportunity for financial service providers to rethink their technology investment and significantly reduce costs by using Internet technologies to provide virtual infrastructure that is scalable and delivered as a service. ICT infrastructure and service costs are lower and utilization is higher while helping overcome any ICT skills scarcity.

Isme Oosthuizen, the associate director at BCG Platinion in a column published on Africa Business Communities back in August said banks need to pursue their own path to the cloud.

‘’Cloud adoption—including hybrid and multi-cloud adoption—is expanding fast among both private and public sector organizations of all sizes,’’ she said.

‘’Financial services is the exception to the rule. Instead of rushing to the cloud, banks, credit card and payment companies, and insurers are likely to move toward hybrid or multi-cloud models at a measured pace over several years or more, and the pathways of adoption will include banking software vendors as well as large cloud service providers.’ she added.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Africa is an emerging data center market

Africa is an emerging data center market and has witnessed around 15 data center investments in 2020.  The region is experiencing growth in internet penetration, which can be a major driver for data center investors.

The growth in the adoption of IoT and big data analytics services will result in the rapid growth of data center development in Africa. This is according to a new report by ReportLinker, a market research solution. 

The report, released last week, notes that the market is evolving, and investments are expected to rise significantly with contributions from local and global data center operators.

The continent currently requires a 1000 megawatts and 700 data centers facilities. The demand has been growing over the last decade – following a similar path to industry development across the globe, as content consumption becomes more of a priority

Data centers are being utilized more than ever. ‘’ For example, the world’s largest internet exchange facility, DE-CIX Frankfurt, saw on-average data traffic increases of 10 percent in early March last year as people started staying at home. Our switch to video conferencing, which has seen triple digit growth, is another example of changing habits and the need to understand how our data usage will affect our data centers.’’  Carol Koech, the Country President, Schneider Electric East Africa said in a column published recently.

Last week, Africa Data Centres announced plans to build large hyperscale data centres throughout Africa, including the North African countries of Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.The project will involve building 10 hyperscale data centres, in 10 countries, over the next two years – at a cost of more than US$500m. It is being funded through new equity and facilities from leading development finance institutions and multilateral organisations.

Data center spending is also going up with research firm Gartner estimating that end-user spending on global data center infrastructure is projected to reach US$200 billion in 2021, up 6% from 2020. 

The priority for most companies in 2020 according to Naveen Mishra, senior research director at Gartner is keeping the lights on, so data center growth is generally being pushed back until the market enters the recovery period. Gartner expects larger enterprise data centers sites to hit pause temporarily and then resume expansion plans later this year or early next. However, hyperscalers will continue with their global expansion plans due to continued investments in public cloud.

South Africa is the leading colocation data center market in Africa, with high cloud-based service adoption, increased enterprise digitalization drive, and migration from on-premises facilities expected to drive the data center market in the country.  The market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 15.17% during the period 2020−2026. In 2020, Teraco Data Environments, Africa Data Centre, NTT Global Data Centers were the major data center investors in the country. For instance, Teraco Data Environments’ JB1 and JB3 facilities added a space of over 43,000 square feet.

Bottom line, Africa is by far the most exciting region when it comes to digital growth and data centers are the basis of this growth.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.