Few places in the world are as dynamic and diverse as Africa today. In this landscape, we see enormous opportunity for the cloud to accelerate innovation, support people across the continent who are working to transform their businesses, explore new entrepreneurship opportunities and help solve some of the world’s hardest problems. For these reasons, I’m very excited to share our plans to deliver the Microsoft Cloud from datacenters in Africa.
We plan to deliver the Microsoft Cloud — including Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 — from datacenters located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, with initial availability in 2018. These new Microsoft Cloud regions will offer enterprise-grade reliability and performance combined with data residency.
Customers across Africa, including local startups and NGOs, will be able to use the cloud services delivered from these new regions to power innovation and opportunity for Africa and the world. For example:
- M-KOPA Solar has used mobile and cloud technology to develop an affordable pay-as-you-go solar energy solution to provide electricity to more than 500,000 homes.
- AGIN has leveraged the cloud to enable an app to connect 140,000 smallholder farmers to key services, enabling them to share data and facilitate $1.3 million per month in finance, insurance and other services.
This announcement brings us to 40 cloud regions around the world — more than any other cloud provider — and will help organizations and people from Cairo to Cape Town accelerate their journey to cloud computing.
This new investment is also major milestone in our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, part of our ongoing effort to create a Cloud for Global Good and an extension of the efforts we have put in place to invest in Africa, including:
- Helping to transform and modernize 728,000 small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) by bringing their companies online, with more than 17,000 continuing to use the 4Afrika hub to promote and grow their businesses.
- Using the Microsoft Cloud to bring access to training and education, building job skills for more than 775,000 people in Africa on subjects ranging from digital literacy to software development.
You can read additional details at the Microsoft MEA News Center and stay tuned for more news about cloud-enabled innovation in Africa.