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Google Cloud’s ambitious African expansion

The news: Google plans to set up an African cloud service as part of its larger $1 billion investment in the continent to enable data sovereignty, per Bloomberg.

Google’s African safari: The search giant plans to carpet Africa with various services, exemplifying Big Tech’s desire to evolve into network providers, owning the pipes as well as the content on the internet.

  • Google estimates that the cloud region could contribute more than $2.1 billion to the country’s economy and support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030, said Niral Patel, director of Google Cloud Africa.
  • Google, which already owns 10,000 miles of submarine cable, wants to have infrastructure in Africa set within the next five years, when it estimates 300 million Africans will access the internet for the first time.
  • Current African subsea cable interconnect sites include Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa and Lagos, Nairobi.
  • Google is also innovating as it expands. One of its projects uses laser-based internet to bridge cities across the Congo River in Africa. 

The cloud’s piece of the puzzle: Google Cloud has been aggressively expanding its cloud operations in various countries and regions and is pushing data sovereignty and data residency as key advantages of expansion. In an internal FAQ dated August 9, Google Cloud estimates that data sovereignty is a $100 billion market.

  • Google Cloud expanded into Mexico in July to better support future Latin American growth.
  • In August, its cloud operations opened facilities in Thailand, Malaysia, and New Zealand.
  • Alphabet announced last month that Google will be building Greece’s first cloud region, per Reuters.

Key takeaway: Google, whose cloud services lost $3.1 billion last year, continues to invest in expansion to catch up to leaders Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The company’s investment in undersea cables and cloud regions give it a leg up in the race.

Dive deeper: Read more about Google’s growing influence across businesses in The Power of Google Report.