Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @Microsoft) (www.Microsoft.com) today announced its intention to use data centers located in Africa for the first time to provide comprehensive and intelligent cloud services from Microsoft. This new investment is a major step for the company, which aims to enable all individuals and businesses around the world to succeed. It is also a symbol of recognition of the enormous opportunities that digital transformation will bring to Africa.

By expanding existing investments, Microsoft will provide cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365, from data centers based in Johannesburg and Cape Town (South Africa), by 2018. These new regions dedicated to cloud will deliver enterprise-grade performance and reliability, as well as data hosting to support growth opportunities and facilitate access to internet and cloud services for people and organizations across the continent African.

“We are delighted to see the increased demand for cloud services in Africa, which have the capacity to become an economic accelerator,” said Scott Guthrie, vice president, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft Corp. “With cloud services that range from smart collaboration to predictive analytics, Microsoft cloud solutions delivered from Africa will enable developers to build new innovative applications, customers to transform businesses, and better governments. meet the needs of citizens. ”

Expanding Accessibility and Opportunity: Today, many African businesses rely on cloud services based outside the continent. With this new investment, Microsoft will be able to offer cloud services that are available, scalable and secure across Africa, as well as a data hosting option in South Africa. With the introduction of these new regions, Microsoft now offers cloud services from 40 regions around the world, more than any other cloud provider. By associating its global cloud infrastructure with these new regions in Africa, Microsoft will enable companies to access opportunities around the world, but also accelerate new investments and facilitate access to Internet and cloud services for populations. and organizations, from Cairo to Cape Town.

“We welcome Microsoft’s investment in cloud services in Africa. The Standard Bank Group is already relying on these technologies to ensure a smooth experience for its customers, ”said Brenda Niehaus, CIO at Standard Bank. “To ensure the success of our business, we have to adapt to changing market conditions and to customer needs. Office 365 allows us to gradually become a more dynamic company, while with Azure we can offer our applications and services to our customers in Africa. We hope we can go even further with these continent-based cloud services. ”

Investing in innovation in Africa: This announcement marks the expansion of ongoing investments in Africa, where companies are already using mobile and cloud services as a platform for innovation in health, agriculture, education and entrepreneurship. Microsoft has focused on supporting local startups and NGOs to encourage innovations that can solve some of humanity’s most serious problems, such as food and water shortages, or environmental and economic sustainability. M-KOPA Solar, for example, is a startup that uses mobile and cloud technologies to deliver affordable solar energy, on a pay-as-you-go basis, to over 500,000 households. AGIN has designed an app that connects 140,000 smallholder farmers to essential services, enabling them to share data and generating $ 1.3 million per month in financial, insurance and other services.

Microsoft has enabled 728,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Africa to be connected to the Internet, transforming and modernizing their businesses. More than 500,000 of them now use Microsoft cloud services and 17,000 use the 4Afrika portal to promote and grow their businesses. By training 775,000 people on various subjects, such as digital literacy or software development, the Microsoft Cloud is also helping the African population to acquire professional skills. The Microsoft Cloud in Africa should boost the new opportunities offered to our 17,000 regional partners, but also to our customers.

“This development expands our solutions as part of our work to modernize government IT infrastructure and services. It enables us to seize new opportunities to create innovative government solutions at a reasonable cost, but also to improve operational management while improving transparency and accountability, ”said Dr Setumo Mohapi, CEO of SITA.

Microsoft’s Trusted Cloud: Microsoft has deep expertise in data protection and privacy advocacy and enables customers around the world to meet stringent data protection requirements. Through the security, privacy, compliance and transparency principles of Microsoft’s “Trusted Cloud” and by offering the broadest set of certifications and attestation of compliance in the industry, Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure supports more one billion customers and 20 million businesses worldwide.

“By establishing giant data centers in South Africa, Microsoft is directly responding to customer expectations and demonstrating its commitment to providing cloud services across the country and region,” says Jon Tullett, Research Manager, IDC MEA . “Having local facilities is a real asset for South African customers, especially for regulated industries, such as financial services or the public sector, where the issue of data sovereignty is critical. This development is very positive for the cloud industry in Africa, especially for the ecosystem of Microsoft partners, software vendors and customers.

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