Microsoft opens first Africa Azure data centre

New regions in Cape Town and Johannesburg capitalise on surging cloud demand

Microsoft has unveiled its first data centre in Africa, showcasing new facilities in Cape Town and Johannesburg for customers wanting to access the company's Azure cloud service.

The move will enable local businesses to take advantage of Microsoft's cloud for building apps and services, while also attracting significant revenues for the global tech firm as it takes advantage of Africa's rapidly expanding tech scene.

"The combination of Microsoft's global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will create greater economic opportunity for organisations in Africa, accelerate new global investment, and improve access to cloud and internet services," said Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president of Azure Networking at Microsoft.

The continent has seen a rapid rise in the adoption of cloud in recent years. Fewer than 50% of businesses were using the technology in 2013, a figure which has since more than doubled, according to World Wide Worx. As a result, companies have become increasingly concerned about the reliability and security of cloud services.

Microsoft also revealed it is working alongside the African Development Bank to launch its Coding for Employment initiative, as part of Microsoft's Imagine Academies work, which it hopes will create 25 million jobs in the area.

"We're working with partners to accelerate cloud readiness and adoption in Africa, ensuring enterprises can deliver services to market faster, businesses can make more data-driven decisions, and governments can better connect with citizens," Ibrahim Youssry, general manager, North, West, East, Central Africa, Levant & Pakistan, Microsoft said.

"As we connect more businesses to Azure, we're seeing heightened innovation in the cloud and start-ups expanding their services to new markets. The combination of Microsoft's global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will now connect businesses with even more opportunity and customers across the globe."

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