Read time: 3 minutes

African Tech Voices: The datacentre revolution in Africa

By , ITWeb
Africa , 17 Feb 2023
Pierre Havenga, Managing Director, Vertiv in Middle East and Africa.
Pierre Havenga, Managing Director, Vertiv in Middle East and Africa.

Africa is rapidly emerging as a major player in the global datacentre market, with several countries investing heavily in their development. This growth is driven by several factors, including the increasing demand for cloud-based services, the growth of the digital economy, and the adoption of Internet of Things (IOT) technologies.

The datacentre revolution in Africa is a crucial step towards deploying technology for tomorrow. With the rapid growth of digital transformation on the continent, datacentres play a pivotal role in ensuring that data is safely stored and made accessible for users.

This transformation has also led to the emergence of edge datacentres, which bring computing closer to end-users, thereby reducing latency and improving data processing speeds. Additionally, there has been a significant rise in the adoption of cloud computing services in Africa, which has allowed businesses to reduce capital expenditure and focus on their core operations.

However, there are still challenges in the deployment of datacentres, including inadequate power supply, limited fibre infrastructure, and high costs of internet connectivity. Addressing these challenges and continuing to invest in datacentres will be essential for Africa's digital transformation and overall economic growth.

In this blog, we'll take a closer look at the trends that have and will continue to shape Africa's datacentre market in the coming years.

Future of digitalisation in Africa

Datacentres are the backbone of the digital world, powering the operations of businesses across industries. As the world becomes more digital, the demand for datacentres rises, and Africa is poised to become a key player in this market.

Additionally, the growth of the datacentre market in Africa presents an opportunity to create jobs and spur economic growth in the region. As datacentres continue to expand, they will create new employment opportunities, both directly and indirectly, in various verticals such as education, government, healthcare, construction, and operations. This will allow companies to accomplish tasks with greater efficiency and flexibility.

Digitalisation has enabled businesses in various industries to increase their reach and revenue potential, as customers are now able to access products and services from anywhere.

The rapid growth of the African datacentre market presents a unique opportunity for businesses, however finding the right balance between investment and energy-efficient solutions remains a challenge. As the demand for datacentres continues to grow, it is essential that businesses operate in a sustainable, transparent, and responsible manner to ensure the long-term success of the industry.

The rise of the cloud

The growing demand for cloud-based services is one of the major drivers of the African datacentre market, with the public cloud segment accounting for the majority of the market. This highlights the importance of cloud-based services in Africa's digital transformation. 

Africa is an immensely diverse and heterogeneous continent, resulting in significant internal differences that set it apart from other regions. Developing infrastructure that optimally fits such poses an obvious challenge. While traditional approaches may still apply in certain countries, particularly South Africa, others will require unconventional and innovative solutions. A major issue throughout the continent is grid instability and availability, with generators and UPS systems being relied on as primary power sources, while the grid serves as an unreliable backup. 

On-site renewables, such as solar, are gaining traction, with some colocation providers already investing in them. This trend could potentially lead to new models of revenue generation through feeding excess power back into the grid, subject to regulatory requirements in each country.

Increased investment in datacentres

The growth of the African datacentre market is also driven by the increased investment of international datacentre operators to host hyperscalers, as well as an increase in enterprise customers moving into the colocation space. 

As reported in IntelligentCIO Africa, the datacentre market is expected to attract US$5-billion.

The rise of the cloud and increased investment in datacenters will continue to support the growth of technology in the region and drive the digital transformation of businesses and governments.

Daily newsletter