Africa is on the verge of realising its economic potential, as IT investment explodes across the continent and with South Africa alone seeing IT infrastructure spending passing the $26-billion mark in 2020.

This is according to the organisers of Data Centres Africa, which is taking place at this year’s AfricaTech. Data Centres Africa will explore the enormous opportunity Africa represents for Big Data – locally on the continent and the world at large.

AfricaTech 2020 is largest virtual gathering of individuals and organisations using enterprise technology to accelerate digital transformation and drive Africa's journey to 4IR and will take place on the 10-13 November 2020.

Data Centres Africa says that massive continental capital development is driving the continent’s digital revolution as it looks to fulfil its economic potential.

Capitalising on this interest, Microsoft recently opened two data centres in Africa, while Oracle is set to launch additional facilities during 2020. These data centres are part of a technological movement that is fuelling economic growth across the continent, as Africa is taking advantage of the opportunity to leapfrog outdated technology to stay closer to the cutting edge of digital innovation.

While this digital infrastructure is essential for growing local economies, it also offers the potential for Africa to outsource services to the rest of the world, with a number of giant global corporations maintaining storage centres in Africa.

Aside from the technological opportunities opened-up by these centres, they also offer lower operational costs, time monitoring benefits, precise management of resources. They also provide a platform for global corporations to route workloads through the continent in order to decrease latency, improve overall performance and reduce costs.

When you look at the immense investments in data centres across the continent, centred around key IT hubs such as Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia, you start to develop of picture of a continent bursting with opportunities,” says James Williams, Portfolio Manager of Connecting Africa, Informa Tech.

“These data centres have the power to interact and to service parts of the continent that are relatively undeveloped, and this is giving Africa the opportunity to stand and fall by the power of its ingenuity, “he says.

Some agenda topics at Data Centres Africa

Discussions happening on 9 November at Data Centres Africa at the virtual Africa Tech Festival include the critical role of data centres for telcos and financial services. This is a discussion about the role played by data centres in Africa’s FinTech revolution, including the ways in which data centres can help enterprises to address the increased challenges of regulatory compliance, shifting customer demands, data privacy and security.

Discussions will also touch on the fact that remote monitoring and managing is revolutionising African data centres. This includes a presentation that profiles the effect of increasingly sophisticated remote monitoring in terms of improving efficiency and cost management, including the operational changes that the COVID-19 outbreak has effected within African data centres.

Thirdly, there will be a panel discussion titled Edge, Cloud and Beyond. Panelists will explore their value in an African context, unpacking the key drivers behind the Edge boom: 5G, AI & IoT adoption by enterprise, as well as data demands and cost management. The panel will also look at “cloud-readiness” across African nations in terms of current infrastructure and the need for fast, reliable broadband connectivity.

The fourth topic will explore what the COVID-19 crisis has taught us about the role of data centres in Africa. This presentation examines how the industry in Africa has stepped up in the COVID-19 battle, with a particular focus on how the shift to remote working has impacted data centres across the continent.

The fifth topic will explore the environmental aspects of data centre management. Here the panelists will focus on the potential for environmentally-focussed technological advances to manage and reduce data centre carbon emissions, as well as examining renewable energy (microgrids), virtualisation of power and efficiency.

The sixth topic will explore tech advances revolutionising the data centre industry. This presentation will focus on the rapid changes that technology has brought to data centres across the African continent.

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