Kenyan telecom provider Safaricom has launched what it calls Africa’s largest cloud service to help fuel “Silicon Savannah’s” IT boom.
Safaricom will provide cheap computing to individuals, entrepreneurs, and large companies alike, though Makori says small and medium-sized businesses, which sustain 80 percent of Kenya’s GDP, might benefit most. “By empowering these through cloud computing, you are increasing the GDP of the country,” he says. Safaricom’s effort joins those of other local cloud providers, such as MTN Business.
In Kenya, traditional IT infrastructure is particularly costly in both absolute and relative terms. Electricity costs about 20 cents a kilowatt-hour—roughly 50 percent more than the U.S. average of 13.5 cents. A server might cost about $5.00 a day to run (more than $1,800 a year), not including cooling and management costs.
The cloud model will serve Kenyan entrepreneurs well because it is substantially cheaper to operate in a hosted environment than to have an on-site server. In an area plagued by frequent power outages, storing critical data in multiple, secure locations lessens the chance of catastrophic data loss.