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African data centre investment ramps up

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Large scale data centre investment opportunities are increasing in sub-Saharan Africa as key commercial hubs benefit from the critical combination of high quality international backbone infrastructure (subsea cable) connectivity and mushrooming local demand for data, say investment leaders.
Michael Tobin OBE, former chief executive of data center operator Telecity, who is a key speaker at the upcoming TMT Finance Africa 2017 event in London, says there is massive potential for datacentre investment in Sub-Saharan Africa and conditions in three markets especially standout.
“Clearly South Africa is the core environment,” says Tobin. “We’re just starting to see the big boys go there: Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Netflix arrived last year, and you are seeing burgeoning volumes on the internet exchanges.
“Teraco, which is owned by Permira, is the standout asset by a million miles. It has the NAPAfrica infrastructure within it, so much of the traffic in all of the 53 countries in Africa goes through that.
“Kenya is becoming increasingly interesting as the subsea cables coming into Mombasa drive more traffic through Nairobi. There is also significant traffic going up the east coast of Africa, through Tanzania and beyond. However, Lagos offers even more potential,” adds Tobin.
“As well as the massive demographic potential, it has the benefits of both subsea cables coming in, and acting as the central commercial hub for Nigeria, which are the two key drivers for datacentre location.
“Whereas Kenya has Mombasa and Nairobi; Lagos is the only point you would need to put a site in Nigeria so I see tremendous investment opportunity.”
Tobin will make a keynote presentation on African datacentre investment and feature on the datacentre and cloud leadership panel at TMT Finance Africa 2017 in London on May 24.