Enterprise Ireland Sub-Saharan Africa, the local arm of Ireland’s export and innovation agency, has unveiled a comprehensive white paper that offers an overview of the global data centre landscape, explores the emerging African data centre market, and highlights Ireland’s expertise and capability in designing and delivering advanced data centre infrastructure.

Africa’s emerging digital landscape faces multifaceted challenges despite its undeniable potential. With an urgent need to build approximately 1 000MW of new data centre capacity by 2025, the continent grapples with infrastructural inadequacies and inconsistent power supplies.

Recent research emphasises the intricate expertise required in data centre design, building, and operation — with nearly three dozen categories of activity, technology, and knowledge being identified. Moreover, as sustainability becomes pivotal in the global discourse, efficient and sustainable best practices in data centres will be deemed highly important by 80% of global operators by 2025.

“Africa is enjoying a growing digital upswing, bolstered by over half a billion internet users,” says Nicola Kelly, director: sub-Saharan Africa at Enterprise Ireland. “The continent is also experiencing the highest data traffic growth rates in the world, a big increase in investment in cloud computing, and a growing reliance on data-intensive services. All of this is really creating a demand for robust data centre infrastructure and highlighting the need for efficient, resilient, and green data centre infrastructures.”

Irish businesses are leading in the innovation in data centre construction and design. Renowned globally for its pioneering approach, Irish businesses are champions of advanced technologies such as Building Information Modelling (BIM). This is further supported by Ireland’s commitment to a greener future, underscored by its ambitious Climate Action Plan 2021-2030. Within this plan, the country’s eyes are firmly set on reducing its carbon footprint and building environmentally conscious data centre infrastructures.

In the whitepaper, Enterprise Ireland has defined four primary key areas where Irish expertise, working with their African counterparts, can help business leaders across the continent to capitalise on the data centre opportunity:

* Global Expertise, Local Impact: Irish businesses, with their global leadership in data centre construction and design, bring world-class expertise to locally relevant projects in Africa, ensuring that solutions are tailored to the unique challenges and opportunities of the African landscape.

* Green Innovation: With Ireland’s commitment to sustainability and its ambitious Climate Action Plan, partnerships with Irish companies guarantee the integration of leading-edge sustainable practices, reducing environmental impact and promoting long-term viability.

* Strategic Collaboration: Ireland’s extensive experience fostering global collaborations ensures a seamless blend of Irish innovation and African aspirations, creating a solid foundation for impactful projects that deliver on time and within budget.

* Future-Proof Solutions: Leveraging principles of the circular economy and smart design, Irish partners provide data centre solutions that are not just cutting-edge today but are poised to meet the challenges and demands of tomorrow.

It is Ireland’s dedication to the principles of the circular economy that highlights its commitment to long-term sustainability, supported by its championing of designs that prioritise recyclability, reusability, and sustainable materials.

“What this white paper offers is a view of how, through partnerships, Irish businesses can play a transformative role in shaping the digital narrative of Africa. With our rich legacy of innovation in data centre design and construction, we are uniquely positioned to support African firms in their pursuit of excellence. But it is more than that; it is only through partnerships, boots on the ground, and a local perspective that we can contribute – which is why our Irish business partners are working across the continent to forge in-country relationships,” says Kelly.