Photograph — the innovator

According to the Economist, more than 320 embassies were opened in Africa between 2010 and 2016. Turkey opened 26. India planned to open 18 last year. Anyone wondering how many China opened, only need hear that the Peoples’ Republic of China has defense-technology ties with 45 countries on the continent. Russia is ingratiating itself with multiple countries in different regions. So is America and France. To cite one instance, China’s trade with Egypt clocked in at under $6 billion within five months. It appears Africa may be witnessing a second, forceful wave of a global scramble for Africa.

This is why the launch of afriQloud in Uganda, with a planned expansion into fifteen other countries to follow, should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention. afriQloud is designed to provide African and international customers with innovative and secure edge cloud service, at best global rates. The idea is a brainchild of a gigantic ICT triumvirate: Pan-African connectivity provider, BringCom, science and tech investor, Imprimatur Capital, and European edge cloud software company, GIG Technology.

CEO of BringCom Fabrice Langreney said that Africa was key to the global market and that one way to unlock the continent’s full potential was to make African companies “equally competitive in the deployment of e-solutions, scalability, secure data accessibility and connectivity in line with international standards.”

CEO of afriQloud, who doubles as a founding partner of Imprimatur Capital Africa, Hans van Linschoten said, “We see significant potential in the growing African cloud market where an estimated $2 billion is being spent in the cloud this year, and we’re excited to bring this service to the continent. By the end of 2019, we will complement the few developed markets clouds with a powerful and local distributed cloud in at least 15 countries. This ensures data sovereignty for institutions and governments within Africa’s shores.”

One significant and understated impact of afriQloud is that most of Africa’s online content can now be hosted on servers within the continent, instead of outside it as it currently is. There’s also the fact that a few national identity schemes have failed because of unreliable connectivity and insecure databases. Thirdly, afriQloud, at its best global price, will encourage the rapid adoption of ICT systems with greater data security, as the cost of doing this had resulted in half-assed attitudes towards securing data.

GIG Technology chairman, Mark Simmonds said, “Although cloud adoption is predominantly private, the African markets are generating growth of 30 percent in public cloud sales. Few other ICT market segments in the African tech ecosystem have the potential of adding an incremental $2 billion in top-line revenue over the next 5 years.”

There is no question about the rapid pace of technology and innovation on the continent. Or for that matter, any doubts about the hefty potential market, with an estimated 2050 population of 2.5 billion. afriQloud wants to connect this big population to a secure and trusted cloud, which can be tapped for business, or identity management, or just about anything. It will install Edge Cloud in Africa’s smart cities and tech hubs, which are growing at an explosive rate, thanks to the continent’s youth population and increasing government willingness to innovate.

afriQloud intends to spread out from Uganda to Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Angola, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Cameroon. afriQloud is clearly working with a five-nation occupation plan per region, with North Africa the only one left behind. One hopes that this time around, in this big scramble for Africa, Africans will be the bigger winners.

By Caleb Ajinomoh


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