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Google launches first Cloud Region in Africa, sites it in Johannesburg

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Google has opened its first cloud region in Africa, sited in Johannesburg, South Africa. The facility expands Google Cloud Platform services across the continent and positions Google competitively with other cloud providers operating in the region.

Google announced on Wednesday that its Johannesburg cloud region is now operational and ready for enterprise and public sector customers. The region provides low-latency access to services like cloud computing, storage, databases and machine learning.

According to Google Cloud Africa director Niral Patel, the Johannesburg facility will empower African organizations to innovate, scale and compete globally. Research commissioned by Google predicts the cloud region could contribute over $2.1 billion to South Africa’s GDP and support 40,000 jobs by 2030.

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.

The Johannesburg cloud region connects to Google’s high-capacity global fiber optic network, including the recently completed Equiano subsea cable linking Portugal and African nations like South Africa. Google is also building dedicated cloud interconnect sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos and Nairobi.

Google joins Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Oracle and other cloud providers operating full-scale data centers in South Africa. Microsoft has cloud regions in Johannesburg and Cape Town, while AWS hosts infrastructure in Cape Town. Oracle opened a Johannesburg cloud region last year.

With Johannesburg online, Google now operates 40 total cloud regions and 106 zones worldwide. The company said the South Africa launch enables organizations on the continent to keep data within country borders to meet data sovereignty requirements.

Analysts view Google Cloud’s regional expansion as critical for competing with AWS and Azure. Cloud data centers in South Africa also support growth of Africa’s startup and enterprise ecosystems.

Read also: What you need to know about Google’s new AI-Powered search features

Google plans a formal launch event in Johannesburg later this year to showcase the region’s capabilities. The company is likely to highlight how its cloud platform can empower African organizations across sectors like financial services, communications, retail and public sector.

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