The Cloud over Africa
Cloud computing is viewed as having the potential to significantly bolster economic growth through the provision of cost savings and efficiencies, including the cost of management of data and security. Some of the benefits of cloud computing could be immediately realised with the small-medium enterprise (SME) sector and the public sector. Within the SME sector, cloud computing provides access to advanced IT technologies, which were previously only accessible to larger enterprises, thereby enhancing entrepreneurship and innovation. Furthermore, the public sector stands to gain from the cost-efficiencies offered by cloud computing. Though cloud providers are offering targeted cloud solutions for the SME sector, the use of these services has been limited. The paper highlights that the informal sector, which forms a significant part of businesses in Africa as it provides livelihoods to the poor and marginalised, has the potential to enjoy benefits associated with the large-scale hardware and software investments in the formal sector through cloud services. Although cloud computing is dominated by global US-based countries, it has the potential to open up African companies to unchartered offshore markets thus contributing to economic development and competitiveness, and for African businesses to aggregate international cloud services to meet local needs.