Oracle joins race to digitise Africa with first data centre in Johannesburg

South African Parade

Fin is a former junior editor at TechForge.

Oracle has opened a data centre in South Africa, joining the likes of Amazon and Microsoft in trying to tap into Africa’s growing demand for cloud services.

The cloud infrastructure company will use the new facility to provide services across much of Africa, with the continent becoming Oracle’s 37th “cloud region”.

According to Cherian Varghese, Oracle’s regional managing director for Middle East and Africa, the company has no plans for more data centres in Africa this year.

Varghese said that expansion outwards from Oracle’s first site in Johannesburg could come as early as 2023 however, with West Africa being a region of particular interest.

For 2022, the company plans to open another 7 cloud regions to compete with rivals such as Amazon, Equinix, and Google.

Richard Smith, Oracle’s executive vice president for EMEA, said: “The fourth industrial revolution, which is powered by cloud-led technologies, has significantly accelerated in South Africa and the wider African continent.

“In recent months, cloud technologies have played a vital role in helping African public and private sector organisations ensure business continuity, deliver essential services, and meet evolving customer expectations. The Oracle Johannesburg region offers a next-generation cloud to run any application faster and more securely for less, helping businesses build resilience, agility and achieve improved ROI.”

Increased demand for faster computing from African banks and telecom firms has attracted big cloud operators into the largely untapped market, with Microsoft the first to launch data centres in South Africa, followed by Amazon and Huawei.

In December 2021, Equinix acquired MainOne, Nigeria’s largest connectivity provider, for £237 million. The deal will see Equinix entering the West African market as part of a long-term strategy to become Africa’s main carrier neutral digital infrastructure company.

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