Google Cloud has announced that a new Cloud Region will be established in South Africa as part of a USD 1 billion investment commitment made last year.
A new Google Cloud Region, Google’s localized cloud-based services platform, will be established in South Africa, the first on the continent. The announcement was made at the second Google for Africa event on Wednesday 5 October as part of the USD 1 billion investment commitment made last year by CEO Sundar Pichai.
Google Cloud: Positive impact
The new Cloud Region will help users, developers, businesses and educational institutions across Africa access more information and tools online, improve access options for customers and, in turn, generate employment.
According to research by AlphaBeta Economics commissioned by Google Cloud, the South Africa Cloud Region will contribute more than a cumulative USD 2.1 billion to the country’s GDP and support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030.
“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,” said Niral Patel, Director of Google Cloud Africa.
Along with the Cloud Region, Google is expanding its network through the Equiano subsea cable and building Dedicated Cloud Interconnect sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos and Nairobi. “In doing so, we are building full scale Cloud capability for Africa,” said Patel.
In South Africa, Google Cloud works with leading retailer TakeAlot to help its three million local customers experience a stable, consistent 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 – a technology-driven company addressing and improving food security in Africa – helping them connect 1,000 farmers to 140,000 vendors, delivering 12,000 orders every day and storing two million kilograms of fresh produce.
The expansion of Google services
Google also 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 kilometers of imagery. This helps people virtually explore and navigate neighborhoods on Google Maps. It is also extending the service to Rwanda, meaning that Street View is now available in 11 African countries.
Earlier this year, Google announced plans to open its first African product development center in Nairobi to develop and build better products for Africans and the world.