Africa Data Centers Pumps Billions into SA Facilities

Africa Data Centers recently completed the 10MW JHB1 data center in Midrand.

Africa Data Centers recently completed the 10MW JHB1 data center in Midrand.

Carrier-neutral co-location data center provider Africa Data Centers has secured an investment of nearly R4 billion to expand its two Johannesburg data centers from 30MW to 100MW of IT load.

The company owns and operates Africa’s largest network of interconnected, carrier and cloud neutral data center facilities.

It secures country to build a third data center location in Johannesburg (and the fourth in SA) within the next two years. This will be the largest location, with a capacity of 50 MW.

The announcement was made last night by Africa Data Centers CEO Stephane Duproz during a media tour of the company’s Midrand campus.

Africa Data Centers is part of Cassava Technologies, a fiber solutions provider based in 14 countries, mainly in East, South and South Africa, providing high-speed connectivity solutions to mobile operators, carriers, enterprises, media and content companies.

Founded by Executive Chairman Strive Masiyiwa, Cassava Technologies is the new pan-African technology group that owns major telecom brands such as Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Sasai Fintech, Vaya Technologies and Distributed Power Technologies.

Africa Data Centers owns three data centers in SA, in Midrand (JHB1), Centurion (JHB2) and Elfindale, Cape Town (CPT1).

According to Duproz, the Johannesburg expansion plans are a microcosm of the company’s broader vision, in which it will build 10 hyperscale data centers across Africa over the next two years, including in Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco and Egypt.

Stephane Duproz, CEO, African Data Centers.

Stephane Duproz, CEO, African Data Centers.

It plans to massively expand its infrastructure amid increased support from the digital economy by the government and private sector, leading to a booming cloud and data center market of the continent attracting major investment from global players.

“Africa Data Centers has earmarked $500 million for a major expansion as we plan to more than double our already large footprint in Africa over the next two years.

“This is expected to drive digital transformation across the continent and we are allocating half of that to SA as we also plan significant expansion in both our Johannesburg data centers and a third data center in Johannesburg.

“If you look at our future plans for data center expansion, we look at whether we have 50% of our African data centers in SA. We want to invest more here in order to ultimately earn more,” explains Duproz.

While he didn’t release many details about the new data center, Duproz noted that the $500 million will only be spent on expansion plans, not including building the data center.

He added that the plans for the Johannesburg facilities are an integral part of the expansion of the data center market on the continent, as SA is one of the most important markets in Africa and a gateway to smaller neighboring markets.

The announcement follows the completion of the company’s 10MW JHB1 data center in September, heralded as one of the largest in Africa.

Designed to the latest global standards, the JHB1 hyperscale data center is part of its response to data center demand as companies across the continent accelerate their digital transformation journeys.

Cassava Technologies now operates the largest independent pan-African terrestrial fiber broadband network, covering more than 300 towns and cities across Africa.

“Today’s announcement by Africa Data Centers and our expansion plans underscore our commitment to accelerate digital transformation in Africa. Increasing our data center footprint is an important part of realizing our vision of a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind,” said Hardy Pemhiwa, president and CEO of Cassava Technologies, at the event.

The African data center market by investment was valued at $2 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach a compound annual growth rate of 15% between 2020 and 2026, according to Reportlinker.

Contributing factors to this growth include the availability of renewable energy, smart city initiatives and increased support for the digital economy, the report said.

As the demand for data and the adoption of the cloud drive an increase in traffic, data centers are becoming increasingly important on the continent.

Africa Data Centers says its vision is to unveil various business opportunities and develop a strategic network of partnerships to further strengthen and increase its market share in Africa, while providing high-quality interconnected, carrier and cloud-neutral data center facilities.

The company has recently begun development of a second data center with up to 20 MW of IT load in Kenya and is securing land for a third facility in the country. It has also established other data centers in Lagos, Nigeria and Lomé, Togo.

By examining Africa’s growth trajectory, the company was able to make investment decisions for new locations and commit to expanding selected existing locations, Duproz said.

“Africa Data Centers currently has the largest carrier neutral data center in Nairobi and East Africa as a whole. We have a dynamic ecosystem, in terms of the largest number of on-site connectivity providers in the region, as well as the strongest leadership in the business sector and financial services in particular.”

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