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Airtel Africa to build second data centre in Kenya

By , Kenya Correspondent
Kenya , 19 Feb 2024
Ashish Malhotra, managing director Airtel Kenya.
Ashish Malhotra, managing director Airtel Kenya.

As competition for data centres in Africa heats up, Airtel Africa announced last week the construction of its second data centre in Kenya, following Nigeria.

According to the telco, the Kenya data centre will have a capacity of seven megawatts and service both the telecom and other sectors.

Nxtra, Airtel Africa’s data centre business, is constructing the facilities in Nigeria and Kenya.

Airtel Africa launched Nxtra in December last year, saying it was doing so to support the rapidly expanding African digital economy as well as the continent's increasing demands for reliable and sustainable data centre capacity.

Yashnath Issur, the former head of Global Data Centre Portfolio Management at Amazon Web Services, was appointed CEO of Nxtra.

Last week, Segun Ogunsanya, Group CEO of Airtel Africa, said the Lagos facility was the first of five Nxtra data centres planned for the continent.

Following the Nairobi facility, the company intends to construct smaller data centres in Tanzania, DRC Congo, and Gabon.

Data centres and fiber-optic internet expansion are poised to become the new backbones of Africa's economic development, prompting a new wave of increasing investment in digital infrastructure, according to analysts.

Ogunsanya said: “A rapid increase in data centre capacity is needed to support the growth potential of Africa’s digital economy. We’re proud to drive the future of Africa’s digital infrastructure, unlocking opportunities for businesses to grow and fuelling economic prosperity. 

“We are going to break ground in Nigeria in the next couple of weeks and the one in Kenya will follow soon. Construction takes about two years, so we’re looking at them coming into operation probably sometime in mid-year 2026.”

The two proposed data centres in Kenya and Nigeria, according to Ogunsanya, are the jewels in Airtel Africa's portfolio.

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