African cloud use grows as CIOs seek flexible pricing, scalability

Infrastructure issues remain, but tech executives see cloud technology as a way to optimize IT costs, speed time to market and grow their businesses.

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Working under tight cost constraints, African CIOs are increasingly looking to the cloud as a way to curb capital expenditures and quickly scale up new services. Infrastructure problems are still holding back cloud usage in many African markets, but at this point it's essentially a given among African senior technology executives that cloud technology is a necessary ingredient for business growth.

In one measure of how quickly African businesses are taking to the cloud, annual cloud services revenue is forecast to double during 2018-2023 to nearly US$3.8 billion, according to Xalam Analytics. This is a drop in the bucket compared to cloud usage elsewhere in the world, but represents a big change for African businesses.

"Cloud-based services will account for about 25% of African B2B ICT spending within three years, and around a third over the long term," according to a market report, "The Rise of the African Cloud," issued earlier this year by Xalam.

Cloud optimizes costs in emerging markets

Limited access to finance and the need to minimise costs are factors that leave most African businesses adopting cloud services as the best option for reducing capital expenditures, by moving spending on technology to more flexible operating-cost options for scalable computing, storage, and app development resources.

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