Africa is emerging as a lively battlefield for global cloud providers. This week, Microsoft’s Azure Africa cloud services went live, with services offered from data centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The launch of Azure came just one day after Huawei announced that its African cloud region was now operational, also from South Africa. Last year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that its first Africa cloud “availability zone” will become operational in the first half of 2020.
The African data center colocation market is arguably the hottest growth area in the African ICT market, according to a new report by research and analytics firm Xalam Analytics.
On the surface, requiring companies to host data locally would seem an attractive option to foster local industry and data sovereignty. The question is whether it ultimately does more harm than good.
Last August, an Indian expert panel committee released its initial recommendations for the country’s upcoming privacy law, including a requirement for companies to store Indian user data in servers physically located in the country. The committee’s recommendations have touched off a fierce debate on the future of India’s digital ecosystem. As more African countries push to adapt their legal frameworks to the Internet age, the same debates are intensifying here.