Google announces first cloud region in Africa

Google also refreshed Street View in Kenya, South Africa, Senegal and Nigeria with nearly three hundred thousand kilometres of imagery.

A person using Google Cloud

Google on Wednesday, October 5, announced the establishment of a new Google Cloud region in South Africa, which is Google’s first on the continent.

The announcement was made during the second Google for Africa event and is the latest example of how Google is delivering on the $ 1 billion (Sh120 million) investment commitment made in 2021 by CEO Sundar Pichai.

The new Cloud Region will help users, developers, businesses and educational institutions across Africa to move more information and tools online, improve access options for customers and in turn, create jobs.

According to research by AlphaBeta Economics commissioned by Google Cloud, the South Africa cloud region will contribute more than a cumulative $2.1 billion (Sh253 billion) to the country’s GDP and will support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030.

Niral Patel, Director of Google Cloud Africa said, “We believe in growing an open and healthy ecosystem of technology solutions to support Africa’s digital transformation goals, which leads to more opportunities for businesses.”

It is part of our company-wide ethos to respect the environment, which is why we operate the cleanest cloud in the industry, supporting sustainable digital transformation," he added.

Additionally, Google Cloud Africa is expanding its network through the Equiano subsea cable and building Dedicated Cloud Interconnect sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos and Nairobi.

Google Cloud is already working with customers across the continent by helping them solve business-critical challenges, get online, and access the benefits of digital technology.

In South Africa, Google Cloud works with leading retailer TakeAlot to help their three million local customers enjoy a hassle-free online shopping experience.

TakeAlot built its e-commerce platform on Google Cloud, which has enabled the business to avoid system crashes during high-traffic periods like Black Friday.

While in Kenya, Google Cloud works with Twiga Foods to help them connect 1,000 farmers to 140,000 vendors, delivering 12,000 orders every day and storing two million kilograms of fresh produce.

Earlier this year, Google announced plans to open its first African product development centre in Nairobi to develop and build better products for Africans and the world.

On October 5, Google announced the launch of voice typing support for nine more African languages in Gboard, the Google keyboard (isiNdebele, isiXhosa, Kinyarwanda, Northern Sotho, Swati, Sesotho, Tswana, Tshivenda and Xitsonga) – while 24 new languages are now supported on Google Translate, including Lingala, which is used by more than 45 million people across Central Africa.

To make Maps more useful, Google also refreshed Street View in Kenya, South Africa, Senegal and Nigeria with nearly three hundred thousand kilometres of imagery.

This helps people virtually explore and navigate neighbourhoods on Google Maps. They are also extending the service to Rwanda, meaning that Street View is now available in 11 African countries.

Africa’s internet economy has the potential to grow to $180 billion (Sh21 trillion) by 2025, which is 5.2% of the continent's GDP.

To support African entrepreneurs in growing and developing their talent, Google continues to support African small businesses through the Hustle Academy and Google Business Profiles and to help job seekers learn the skills they need through Developer Scholarships and Career Certifications.

Google, through its $50 million (Sh6 million) Africa Investment Fund that targets equity investments in tech startups, has since invested in three businesses over the past 9 months - SafeBoda, a transportation app in Uganda and Nigeria, Carry1st, a South African mobile gaming startup and Lori Systems, an e- logistics company based in Kenya.

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