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DRC’s first open-access datacentre to be operational by Q2 2023

OADC Kinshasa.
OADC Kinshasa.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) stands to benefit from the country’s first open-access, carrier-neutral datacentre, OADC Kinshasa F1H1. The datacentre is scheduled to go live in Q2 2023.

WIOCC Group company and pan-African datacentre operator Open Access Data Centres (OADC) said the first phase of the 2MW-capable, 550+ rack datacentre will be operational by the end of April.

Located in Kinshasa within TEXAF’s Silkin Village, touted as one of the largest digital hubs in Central Africa, OADC Kinshasa is a partnership between OADC and TEXAF, a major long-term investor in the economy of the DRC.

OADC said according to the World Bank, the DRC is one of the most under-developed digital economies in Africa.

“It will boost the country’s IT, colocation, and support the cloud infrastructure needs of a wide range of businesses and enterprises, enabling them to improve efficiency, expedite digitisation initiatives and more effectively service business and customer needs. The open, carrier neutral facility will create the first vibrant and comprehensive interconnect and peering ecosystem in the country across multiple carriers, ISPs, content providers and Internet Exchanges; a first in the DRC, transforming the digital infrastructure ecosystem,” the datacentre operator stated.

OADC FIH1 Kinshasa is expected to boost the country’s internet penetration which InternetWorldStats reports was only 17.4% at the start of 2022, compared to 43% for Africa as a whole and 68.6% for the rest of the world.

Similarly, improved access to connectivity, cloud and internet services can be expected to increase consumer use of social networks like Facebook: according to InternetWorldStats, in April 2022 DRC’s Facebook subscribers, as a percentage of the country’s population, was only 5.4%, compared to 18.6% for Africa as a whole and 38.1% for the rest of the world.

OADC asserted that the quality of the facility, which will be Tier III Certified by the Uptime Institute, together with its vibrant interconnect ecosystem is expected to draw key cloud and content services into DRC.

Dr Ayotunde Coker, CEO of OADC.
Dr Ayotunde Coker, CEO of OADC.

Dr Ayotunde Coker, CEO of OADC, commented, “This datacentre, and others we have in the pipeline for DRC, are changing the narrative and opportunities for large and small enterprises, government departments, and international content networks and cloud operators to localise in the country. As a result, we are already in advanced discussions with a number of potential anchor tenants about establishing their presence in our facility. Partnering with TEXAF, with their local knowledge, experience and understanding of the local business environment in the DRC, ensures that our approach to developing and expanding our capabilities in the DRC is consistent with - and tailored to - local requirements and demands, and that we help businesses and the country as a whole to contribute to and benefit from the digital transformation of Africa. The facility will join a growing network of interconnected, open and carrier neutral datacentres across the continent.”

Philippe Croonenberghs, Chairman of TEXAF, declared “We are proud to be partnering with OADC in the creation of another essential building block of the digital ecosystem here in the DRC. This fully validates our strategy of attracting international industry leaders such as OADC to the country and specifically into our new Silikin Village digital hub. It is also an affirmation of our standing and reputation in the country.”

Accelerating DRC’s digital transformation

OADC also referenced a report by Endeavor Nigeria, which said the size of Africa’s digital economy in 2022 was US$115-billion and expected to grow more than six-fold to US$712-billion by 2050. However, while Africa has 17% of the world’s population, it generates only 4% of global GDP and has just 1% of the world’s datacentre capacity - the continent’s ‘digital infrastructure gap’, where the digital landscape is characterised by islands of high-speed connectivity focused on the largest, predominantly coastal, urban areas, with limited network deployment to smaller locations.

The International Telecommunications Union analysis in its modelling of economic impact for Africa indicates a 10% increase in broadband penetration would result in 2.5% increase in GDP per capita.

OADC added that the facility will be a key enabler of sovereign data rules in the country, localising internet data and bringing more efficient access to data.

Coker continued: “OADC Kinshasa is a key facility within our unique, pan-Africa core-to-edge, open-access DC ecosystem, which now includes OADC Lagos (20MW site load, 7,200 square metres IT white space), OADC Durban (4MW, 2,200 square metres), OADC Isando in Johannesburg (up to 7MW and an initial 1,600 square metres), the 3MW OADC Rondebosch and 5MW OADC Brackenfell, both in Cape Town and 30 OADC EDGE DCs across South Africa.”

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