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Equinix to enter South Africa with US$160m datacentre investment

New datacentre expected to open mid-2024.

Global digital infrastructure company Equinix, Inc. today announced plans to enter the South African market with a US$160-million datacentre investment in Johannesburg, to augment its current footprint in Africa including Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.

The new datacentre is expected to open mid-2024.

Equinix issued a statement and described South Africa as “one of the largest and most digitally developed nations on the African continent.”

The company added that the country is already a strategically important connectivity hub for digital networks and boasts a significant network of submarine communications cables.

These strategic links between countries and continents are established at several points across the country’s 2,850 kilometres of coastline.

“We entered the African continent earlier this year with the acquisition of MainOne, the leading West African datacentre and connectivity solutions provider with presence in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire,” said Eugene Bergen, President, EMEA, Equinix.

“This investment will give both South African businesses the opportunity to expand internationally and global businesses to expand into South Africa. Both will be able to accelerate their growth by rapidly scaling their infrastructure, easily adopting hybrid multi-cloud architectures and interconnecting with business partners through the Platform Equinix ecosystem of more than 10,000 customers.”

In early April this year Equinix announced the acquisition of MainOne for an enterprise value of US$320-million.

An excerpt from a statement released by Equinix reads: “This acquisition will extend Platform Equinix into West Africa, giving organisations based inside and outside Africa access to global and regional markets. Nigeria has both the largest population and the largest economy of any country in Africa, with approximately 142 million active internet subscribers. Home to new innovative digital ecosystems in Fintech and content and digital media, it has great opportunity for expansion of digital services.”

Equinix believes Lagos-headquartered MainOne to be one of the most exciting technology businesses to emerge from Africa, and Lagos is rapidly becoming a key connectivity hub for the wider West Africa region.

The company has claimed to be the first in the datacentre industry to set a science-based emission reduction target and commit to become climate neutral globally by 2030, aligned to the Paris Accord 1.5-degree scenario.

“We have a long-term goal of sourcing 100% clean and renewable energy for our global platform. Equinix’s renewable energy coverage in 2021 was 95% and has been over 90% since 2018,” the company stated.

Equinix is seeking out sustainable and reliable sources of energy for this new datacentre in line with its approach to entering new markets.

“While the exploration for sustainable and reliable sources of energy continues, this new facility is expected to feature many unique sustainable attributes including hyper-efficient cooling with outside air economisation using minimal water, allowing us to limit our carbon footprint and maintain energy efficient operations with industry leading PUEs,” the company added.

Following the acquisition of MainOne in April 2022, Equinix has announced two expansions into ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) following the recently announced plans to expand into Indonesia and Malaysia.

Prior to this, the company also announced growth in the South American market with its acquisition of five Entel datacentres to accelerate digital transformation opportunities for local businesses and multinational companies in Peru and Chile. 

Equinix said that according to Statista.com, as of 2022, the share of the total population of South Africa using the internet was nearly 80%. This share is expected to grow up to an estimated 90% by 2027, meaning it has some of the highest penetration of mobile and internet users in Africa. 

This predicted rise would represent an increase of 28% compared to 2018 when the share of the population accessing the internet in the country was only 62%.

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