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Rack Centre announces US$100m datacentre expansion plan

West African carrier neutral datacentre operator Rack Centre, has announced an expansion programme that will increase capacity to a total net lettable white space of 6000 square metres and allow for 13MW of IT power capacity in its Lagos campus.

The company released a statement explaining that this increased capacity will supplement the current expansion already underway to double existing capacity to 1.5MW and 1,200 square metres of white space in early 2021.

The statement continues that in March 2020, London private equity firm Actis announced an investment in Rack Centre, taking a controlling stake in the business alongside Jagal.

The funding for this expansion will come from a US$250-million pan-African data centre platform established by Actis and ICT infrastructure investor Convergence Partners.

In addition to Rack Centre, the platform is also actively developing additional buy and build opportunities across Africa, to establish a network of carrier neutral data centres aimed at catering to carrier, cloud and hyperscale customers.

Tim Parsonson, co-founder of Teraco Data Environments, the largest carrier neutral operator in Africa, joins the Board as Chairperson. The platform has also engaged Frank Hassett, a veteran of the global data centre industry and previous Vice President of Infrastructure at Equinix, who brings over 1300MW of build and operate experience, to assist with hyperscale expansion.

“Africa is at the start of a critical time in its development, as the 4th industrial revolution offers the chance to leapfrog many of Africa’s challenges and harness the immense potential of its people. Convergence Partners is delighted to partner with Actis in accelerating the growth of high quality data centre infrastructure, an indispensable part of the foundation of this revolution in the region.” said Andile Ngcaba, chairman of Convergence Partners.

According to the partners, with 138 million internet subscribers, more than any country in Africa or Europe, and the largest population and GDP in Africa, Nigeria is a key entry point for global telecommunications, content and cloud players seeking access to the region.

However, a lack of cost effective, energy efficient IT infrastructure has been a constraint to doing business in the region.

Rack Centre claims to be the first carrier neutral data centre in Nigeria to achieve Uptime Institute Tier III Certification of Constructed Facility (TCCF).

Dr Ayotunde Coker, Managing Director of Rack Centre, said: "We are proud of the quality and scale bar we have set in the region and are scaling to be the de-facto digital data hub for West Africa. Mass adoption of digital working models and content distribution is driving growing investment in the region and Rack Centre offers a world class location to house these IT and telecoms facilities”

Engineering consultancy Arup has been appointed for the project. The company’s datacentre design team is said to have designed over 2,000MW of IT capacity for tech companies and co-location providers.

Intra-African agenda

In May this year, the Africa Data Centre Association (ADA) released the State of the African Data Centres 2020 report, in conjunction with Xalam Analytics and Balancing Act.

According to the report, more local traffic flow and growth of the intra-African agenda have been identified as key drivers behind the demand for datacentre space on the continent.

It said that global content providers like Facebook and Netflix and cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and AWS are considered driving forces as they expand their content and services into Africa.

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