What is the current state of the data center market in your region?

As Internet penetration rates soar and Africa strives to bridge the connectivity gap, the continent is poised for an imminent data center boom—and South Africa is at the helm, as it contains nearly half of the continent’s existing data centers and is expected to account for most of the 5 million USD investment projected to enter the African data center market by 2026. In the last few years, big companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have invested in infrastructure here, and organizations throughout the country are transitioning workloads to the cloud.

What are the key drivers and goals of the data center business in your region? 

Africa’s contribution to the global colocation data center supply is less than one percent, but the continent’s rapid digitalization and demand for cloud facilities is creating a surge of data center investments, especially for South Africa (Africa’s most industrialized nation).

Undersea cable installation also significantly increased broadband capacity, and South Africa is one of the continent’s most extensively connected countries, with eight existing subsea cables and two more in development. Data protection regulations, residency / sovereignty concerns, and latency reduction requirements are also key drivers.

What benefits do the local area recognize from the industry?

Data centers play a significant role in generating job opportunities across builds and operations. Customers also get rapid, reliable access to cloud services and managed solutions within an extensive, interconnected ecosystem.

What are the biggest advantages for your location as a data center cluster?

South Africa is the continent’s data center hub. We not only have the most prominent and established infrastructure, but our extensive presence across Africa’s major business / trade hubs means we can leverage international expertise for local markets. We also have strong skilled workforce availability, physical security, and a stable climate.

Who are the biggest champions for data centers in the region?

We are witnessing a surge in companies hosting their solutions and data locally to maintain more political, economic, and digital sovereignty. The expansion of the data center industry within Africa at large, increased investment from international companies, and digitalization initiatives from the South African government are enabling bringing Africa’s data back to the continent.

What challenges have you identified, and what is being done to overcome those challenges?

Power always poses a critical logistical challenge in Africa, with only ~20 percent of the continent’s population having access to reliable utility power, and running a data center is especially expensive in South Africa compared to other global hubs. We’re forging partnerships with power producers like DPT to offer alternative facility power solutions and invest in renewable energy for a sustainable long-term solution.

What are the future goals for the data center industry in your region?

Africa Data Centres recently allocated 500 million USD to construct numerous hyperscale data centers across Africa’s top five markets: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco, and Egypt. Many top African companies are already our customers, and we strive to be the go-to provider for international companies when they contemplate engaging with Africa.

How do you see data centers contributing to the digital transformation in the years to come?

Constructing data centers is the only way for South Africa and the continent to fulfill increasing storage, processing, and networking needs, which are pivotal for realizing its digital aspirations. Emerging technologies are driving the demand for fast, reliable services, and data centers provide efficient, affordable access to them.

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