It is sometimes too easy for the world to wrongfully assume that Africa lags too far behind the global cloud innovation revolution happening. That is a fundamentally flawed outlook.
As of 2021, Africa accounted only for USD$1.2 billion (approx. UGX4.5 trillion) of the global public cloud market, it has more than doubled in the past three years and continues to grow exponentially year on year. Soon, Africa will be among the world’s leading cloud innovators, and countries like Uganda will be at the forefront.
It has been inspiring to witness first-hand the continued growth of Uganda’s technology sector. Ongoing expansion and improvement of data infrastructure are playing a critical role in pushing national economic growth beyond expectations.
As of September 2020, internet subscriptions in Uganda surpassed 20 million. This equates to one connection for every two Ugandans. The pandemic only intensified this growth as many businesses adopted remote working methods — calling for more adept cloud adoption strategies.
It would not be surprising to see 2022 become the year many African industries witnessed a massive surge in cloud solutions. This is already driven by the impetus of digital transformation strategies across the board and a need to gain a competitive advantage in a new normal.
The reality of Africa’s historical low economic growth is the very reason that Africa is ideally suited for the speedy adoption of cloud technology. As Uganda, and the rest of Africa, look towards economic recovery and growth, the cloud is the answer to cutting costs and increasing efficiencies as businesses move away from the requirement of hardware and installation.
But this doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly doesn’t happen alone.
Liquid’s cloud ambition lies in partnerships
At Liquid Intelligent Technologies (Liquid), they have proudly built Africa’s largest independently owned fibre network. While that is a fantastic achievement, their ambition also lies in the cloud. They are part of a mission to build Africa’s largest-ever data centre in Lagos, Nigeria, which is being spearheaded by Africa Data Centres, another organisation under the Cassava Technologies House of Brands. This development will spur cloud innovation that has never been seen before on African soil. However, this will require some key players.
As Liquid continues to make headway with the East-West fibre lines across Africa, especially through areas like Congo, more interest will be generated from these multinational tech giants — adding to the exponential growth curve.
Cloud is the best cybersecurity on the market
One of the biggest deterrents of cloud adoption lies in the belief that a migration to the cloud will lead to more cyber-attacks. The advancement and rising complexity of the average cybercriminal syndicate mean that every business and customer that utilises connectivity services should be mindful of the growing need for cybersecurity and, by default, cloud services.
This will need accredited and capable partners to bring this to life. Liquid’s offering is designed to protect customers at every intersection of their digitally transformed business including network, people, and systems, revolutionising how cybersecurity is approached. Our approach provides small and large business owners, enterprises, and government entities with secure cloud services that help them get an edge over their competitors on the continent and beyond.
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Cloud is the pathway to startup success
The last two years have emphasised the need to leverage digital channels to deliver on value propositions. Cloud allows businesses, especially those who are young and ready to grow, a pathway that is ready to scale at a moment’s notice.
Since latency is such a widespread issue in Africa, serving a customer as quickly as possible is the key to competitive advantage, which is life or death in a startup landscape. Nobody wants to see loading screens and unnecessary buffers when trying to access mission-critical systems. As soon as the customer experience is interrupted, the customer is already thinking of the competitor.
However, none of this would be possible without a key player in the market who understands the need for resilient and scalable infrastructure—those being infrastructure providers like Liquid.
We also need enablers at a grassroots level. Engines and drivers of business success like The Innovation Village — Uganda’s fastest-growing startup engine. In 2017, Liquid Uganda partnered with the Innovation Village to support Ugandan start-ups with high-speed internet and cloud-based services. Today, The Innovation Village engine has hosted over 140 startups with over USD$3 million (approx. UGX11.2 billion) in funding raised. By connecting our startups with cloud skills, they are ready to connect to our cloud infrastructure and kick off their digital journey.
The continent needs more proud enablers of cloud success. Through the right partnerships, programmes and events, we can continue to provide a platform for businesses and entrepreneurs alike to succeed in a digital economy and do so through the cloud — one of the most significant enablers of the fourth industrial revolution.
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Dennis Keko Kahindi, the CEO of Liquid Intelligent Technologies Uganda