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Growing business: Raxio has plans to expand into Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania over the next 12 months


ing significant growth” on the back of ongoing digital development. “In the past four years, Africa has seen the


entry of about 30 new multi-tenant data centre facilities with around 125 megawatts of IT load added during the same period,” Ms Munyengeterwa explains. Raxio Group is the latest company to


announce further investment into an African data centre facility, after announcing in July that a new storage centre would open in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, in 2022. The ability to store, transfer and process


data locally is currently limited by the lack of proper data centre infrastructure, says Robert Mullins, the company’s chief executive. Africa has “largely lagged investment in


connectivity infrastructure which become a limiting factor in [its] continued digital trans- formation”, he says. Raxio currently operates in “high-growth,


but underserved” markets such as Uganda, Ethiopia, the DRC and Mozambique, and plans to expand to Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania over the next 12 months, Mr Mullins says, adding that “to accommodate the ground swell of demand for data centres in Africa, some mar- kets would need more than one facility in the short-to-medium term”.


Challenging environment Although South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are emerging as the hotspots for big investment into Africa’s data centres, according to Turner and Townsend, other companies such as Paratus are also “investing around $5.5m in


August/September 2021 www.fDiIntelligence.com


building a new state-of-the-art data centre in Lusaka”, the capital of Zambia, the company told fDi. It is also investing around N$120m ($8.06m) to build a data centre in Namibia. Paratus’s chief operating officer, Schalk


Erasmus, believes that “the acceleration and ever-increasing adoption of cloud services has become evident, and this creates a further need” for data centres. “Data centres require uptime of 99.9%”


which means that any slight disruption desta- bilises the entire operation, says a spokesper- son for Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM). AIIM is a majority share- holder in the Onix Accra 1 Tier IV data centre in Ghana. “Power supply in much of Africa can be sporadic, so off-grid solutions are a neces- sity,” they add. Companies such asADC, Raxio and AIIM are


joining Amazon subsidiaryAWS, which is pow- ering its data centre in SouthAfrica via a 10MW solar farm, in roping in alternative energy sources, standby diesel generators and hybrid batteries to cover for electricity outages. Many of the tech investors into Africa’s data centres are hoping that renewable energy, especially solar, will address environmental and sustaina- bility concerns, especially around the indus- try’s huge electricity consumption. And yet another key constraint to data cen-


tre investment in Africa is the shortage of criti- cal skills. However, operators such as Paratus are hoping that “more skills will be developed in local markets in Africa as the momentum and investment grow”, while Raxio is training and upskilling the necessary local staff.■


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