First Brick Holdings to invest $50m in data centres across Africa Featured

  • Written by  Abigail Opiah
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First Brick Holdings to invest $50m in data centres across Africa

In a bid to boost the digitalisation of East and Southern Africa, First Brick Holdings, a Roha Group company has announced its plans for multiple investments in several data centres across the region.

These data centres will open up new opportunities for financial services, governments and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) by addressing their needs for data storage, business continuity and disaster recovery, and create a network of data centres able to accommodate international and regional customers in the new facilities.

The announcement was made at the sidelines of the recently concluded AfricaCom Digital Week in Cape Town, South Africa.

AfricaCom is an African tech and telecoms event which brings together the converging industries and innovations shaping Africa’s digital future.

Robert Mullins, the Executive Director at First Brick Holdings said the planned $50m data centres will be complete by 2022.

“Economic growth in East Africa is averaging between 5-10% across the region,” he added.

“When combined with parallel trends in digitalization and content consumption, we are seeing annual data usage and associated storage requirements increasing by 20-30 percent.”

First Brick Holdings’ initial investment is in Uganda, where it is setting up a carrier-neutral data centre in the Namanve Industrial and Business Park, which is due to open mid-2019 with up to 400 racks, delivering 1.5MW of IT power.

James Byaruhanga, General Manager at Raxio data centre said that data centre installations in East Africa are lagging behind other emerging economies, despite the region facing similar underlying trends in terms of the growth of data usage and storage requirements.

“Businesses in Uganda are seeing their data requirements become increasingly more sophisticated and subject to data sovereignty compliance rules that necessitate local data storage and processing,” he added.

“These dynamics, coupled with the expansion ambitions of some of the world’s biggest companies who are either already active in or looking to expand into the East African market, is driving the commercial need for data centres.”

He also said that data centres are needed as key pillars to Uganda’s digital economy, reducing the cost of connectivity in the country and attracting global cloud service providers, content distribution networks and regional carriers.

Mullins concluded that the facilities will also serve as enablers, bringing access to local cloud computing closer to enterprises, and content closer to consumers.

“Not only that, but it will also contribute significantly to skilled job creation and tax revenue generation,” he added.

“East and Southern Africa is primed for these data centres and they will allow the region’s businesses to better compete on a global level.”

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