Data centres have been identified as the next real growth opportunity across our continent as COVID-19 locked-down nations are forced to accelerate the shift online, driving a massive spike in data needs.
As quickly as Multinational and African-based investors are responding to the burgeoning opportunity for data centre providers so the need is growing. The demand for cloud services is accelerating data centre expansion across Africa, with spending predicted to grow to R11.53 billion in 2022 according to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in South Africa. According to Jan Hnizdo, MD of Teraco, South Africa leads the continent with 59 data centres, followed by Nigeria and Kenya with 10 each.
Matthew Renshaw, Chief Operating Officer of pan-African construction solutions company Profica, says that as businesses and even entire economies play rapid catch-up, the current pandemic challenge is throwing the need for local infrastructure to provide rapid, high-availability data centre services in Africa into sharp relief.
Mobile network operators and local companies have dominated the African datacentre market to date. Now, global hyper-scale cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft Azure, Oracle and Google are challenging the status quo as they need more Africa-based data centres to grow their offerings on the continent. Already Microsoft Teams has reached 44 million daily users and Zoom has exploded to 200 million users in March from a 10 million previous maximum.
“We expect to see strong demand for hosting capacity in data centres across the continent. Key hubs, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, are well positioned to be regional growth centres, but investors need clear guidance in these economies that can function very differently from Western markets,” says Renshaw.