Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has welcomed Microsoft’s investment in enterprise-grade data centres as they position South Africa as one of the leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) markets on the African Continent.
“This investment is important particularly within the context of providing opportunities for small and medium businesses to access affordable data management and cloud services; as well as for digi-techs to leverage this infrastructure to provide new innovative digital services,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
Microsoft has announced a multi-million-dollar investment to create economic opportunities for South Africa through an Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP).
In addition to the EEIP, Microsoft also announced the opening of new enterprise-grade datacentre regions in Africa, ensuring world-class cloud infrastructure that will power emerging cloud, AI and edge computing innovations across the continent.
Microsoft Azure is available from Microsoft’s new cloud regions in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The announcement was made during a press conference at the company’s headquarters in Bryanston, Johannesburg.
“The investment by Microsoft is therefore a step in the right direction, particularly as it will enable the adoption of cloud services by Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) in general and support those enterprises that participate in the ICT sector access to infrastructure to provide new innovate digital services.
“I am further impressed by the Transformation Plan of Microsoft in terms of the EEIP which the department approved and recommended to the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) to approve as well,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
The Minister said the EEIP focuses on supporting entrepreneurs in the app economy and on building digital skills in the country which is commended.
Government through the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and the Department Of Telecommunications and Postal Services will work closely with Microsoft to monitor implementation of the EEIP plan.
Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Azure Networking Yousef Khalidi said the combination of Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will increase economic opportunity for organisations in Africa, as well as connect businesses across the globe through improved access to cloud and internet services.
“In addition, the availability of Microsoft’s cloud services delivered from Africa will mean local companies can securely and reliably move their businesses to the cloud while meeting compliance requirements,” Khalidi said.
With this announcement, Microsoft has become the first global provider to deliver cloud services from data centres on the continent.
The company has announced 54 cloud regions worldwide, which is more than any other global provider.
“Azure is the first of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud services to be delivered from the new data centres in South Africa. Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity solution, is anticipated to be available by the third quarter of calendar year 2019, and Dynamics 365, the next generation of intelligent business applications, anticipated in the fourth quarter,” Microsoft said.