[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Africa is Undergoing a Revolution in New Cloud and Data Centre Capacity

Compared with other Data Centre markets around the world, Africa is unique in the sense it has a population of over 1.3 billion people and a total landmass of 30,365,000 km. This is according to the The “The Cloud and Data Centre Revolution in Africa” report released last year.

The report notes that this huge population has the potential to create huge demand for Data Centres and the digital services provided by Data Centre facilities. To-date only a small portion of the potential demand for African Data Centre space has been met with Africa having a low Data Centre penetration rate compared with other regions.

This explains why we have seen massive investments in Pan African data centres across Africa from a number of companies in 2021. Last week, Africa Data Centres, Africa’s largest network of interconnected, carrier- and cloud-neutral data centre facilities announced a significant investment into the construction of a new data centre facility in Lagos, Nigeria. In Kenya, IXAfrica, the new-entrant data centre operator in the countries announced earlier this month the start of significant investment in Kenya’s digital economy, with an ambitious plan to build a world-leading and sustainable campus at a prime location in Nairobi.

In March this year, The Raxio Group, a premier pan-African data centre developer and operator, also announced that it is establishing and investing in ‘Raxio Kinshasa’, the first in a series of state-of-the-art, privately owned, carrier-neutral, data centres in the DRC.

Until recently Africa has lacked Data Centre Providers with a presence in multiple countries – the scene is changing with a number of new private equity investors aiming to build Data Centre networks in Africa.

This growth as we mentioned in our last Africa Cloud Review article has been necessitated by the fact that most African enterprises have been moving to the cloud.  Just the other day, Absa Group, one of the largest financial service providers in Africa, has launched an internal cloud incubator initiative in collaboration with Amazon Web Services.  As one of the largest cloud adopters in Africa, Absa says it is promoting cloud fluency as part of its broader efforts to promote learning, experimentation and innovation across the organisation to enhance the banking experience for its customers.

Liquid Telecom which recently rebranded to Liquid Intelligent Technologies also said it’s now expanding into a full cloud company. The company, which operates a 73,000km fibre network, said it wants to show expansion of its cloud business, cybersecurity services, and other technologies added to its existing telecoms and connectivity capability.

Africa is indeed moving forward with its instigation of cloud computing on a theatre-wide basis. From local banks looking to accelerate the rollout of new applications to startups disrupting entire industries with innovative, cloud-powered models, cloud services are transforming Africa’s productive capacity and emerging as one of the most essential pillars of Africa’s digital transformation.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

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