Microsoft announced Wednesday that its opening two new cloud computing data center “regions” in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. Data center regions consist of interconnected data centers that are designed to provide computing resources to companies and organizations in the surrounding area.
Although many big enterprise technology companies already operate in South Africa, Microsoft claims it’s the first one to open a major cloud data center region in South Africa akin to the ones it operates in the U.S.
In 2017, Microsoft announced its planned data centers in South Africa, saying at the time that they would be ready in 2018. But the opening was delayed until this year.
Companies are investing heavily in Africa because of the potential economic growth of the continent as Internet connectivity expands in rural areas. Jason Zander, Microsoft’s executive vice president of Azure, said that Microsoft projects that spending in South Africa on cloud resources would triple in the next five years from an unspecified number and that cloud computing could end up creating 112,000 new jobs by the end of 2020. That number counts not only jobs at Microsoft, but also third-party companies including startups because the data centers make it easier for them to build apps and setup their corporate infrastructure.
The Azure cloud computing is the first product available from the new data centers. Office 365 work software suite will be available in the third quarter while Dynamics 365 business apps collection will go online in the fourth quarter.