[Column] Simon Ngunjiri: The public cloud market is getting bigger in Africa
30-11-2021 08:26:00 | by: Nixon Kanali | hits: 1888 | Tags:

Despite the growth of cloud over the past decade, for most organizations, only 20 per cent of workloads have made their way to the public cloud according to an IBM report

Public cloud is the most popular model of cloud computing where computing services and infrastructure are managed by a third-party provider and shared with multiple organizations using the public Internet. It makes computing resources available to anyone for purchase. 

Globally public cloud services market is forecast to grow 6.3 per cent in 2020 to a total $257.9 billion, up from $242.7 billion in 2019, according to Gartner, Inc., Public cloud services serve as the one bright spot in the outlook for IT spending in 2020.

Africa currently accounts for less than 1% of the global public cloud services revenue according to a Xalam report despite accounting for 5% of the world’s GDP and 17% of its population. However, the report notes that its capacity has doubled in the past three years. Despite this, Winston Ritson, the Group Head for Cloud Services at  Liquid Intelligent Technologies says there’s always a but.

‘Africa does lag as one would expect as we are still talking about a Cloud penetration rate of around 15%, but a forecasted public growth rate of between 17 and 20 CAGR’’ he says. 

Public Cloud has its advantages, including almost infinite scalability and an unbeatable breadth of independent service vendor (ISV) offerings. Another key benefit is an extremely flexible pricing structure that helps businesses, especially the small and medium-size, to tightly control their costs by paying for the infrastructure only based on their needs.

The establishment of cloud data centres has positioned a number of companies as public cloud providers offering cloud services on the continent. On Monday, Africa Data Centres officially opened its new 10MW data centre facility in Lagos, Nigeria. The new facility, the company says, will pave the way for Africa Data Centres hyperscale customers to deploy digitisation solutions to West Africa. 

This latest announcement follows hard on the heels of Africa Data Centres recently announced, major data centre expansion plans that will see the company building hyperscale data centres throughout Africa. 

Oracle also announced that its launching a series of new cloud regions using Orange’s infrastructure in Senegal and Ivory Coast. In October,  the company announced that it has chosen Johannesburg as the site of its first African data centre.

The shift to public cloud computing is the dominant trend in the industry and it’s only going to get bigger going forward. Mainstream enterprise and government use – represented as pragmatists and conservatives in the above chart – now accept public cloud computing as a viable choice: capable, secure, and cost-effective. 

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.