The Africa data centre market size is expected to cross US$3bn by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of over 12 percent. The sector has witnessed a steady growth in interest from major global cloud service providers such as AWS, Microsoft and Huawei over the last five years.
South Africa is the largest market in Africa for data centres. With a total GDP of over US$315 billion and a contribution of 6 percent from the digital economy, South Africa’s data centre industry is thriving.
South Africa is the number 25 globally ranked country on Cloudscene based on data centre density. The country’s top service providers include Internet Solutions, Liquid Telecom and MTN. South Africa has 52 internet users per 100 and the connectivity ecosystem is made up of 52 colocation data centres, 335 cloud service providers and six network fabrics.
Nigeria is another fairly established African market for data centres. It has a population of over 182 million and a GDP of US$481bn. The country’s top service providers include Console Connect, MainOne and Netcom.
Nigeria has 47 internet users per 100 and the connectivity ecosystem is made up of five colocation data centres, 50 cloud service providers and one network fabric.
Kenya is a more nascent but growing market for data centres. The country’s top service providers include Console Connect, PCCW Global and China Telecom.
Kenya has 46 internet users per 100 and the connectivity ecosystem is made up of ten colocation data centres, 23 cloud service providers and two network fabrics.
The data centre construction market in South Africa is hot with key projects coming to fruition and hyperscale investments increasing. Many hyperscale clients see South Africa as a stepping stone into the rest of Africa, and there is growing emphasis on Nigeria in West Africa.
The primary colocation data centre markets in South Africa are Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Midrand and Port Elizabeth. Energy is a significant issue for data centres, but South Africa has relatively reliable energy coverage, with increasing use of green energy sources.
Dimension Data is currently developing a large data centre (20MW) for a hyperscale client from Europe, which is due for completion in 2021.
Huawei has a significant footprint in South Africa and rest of Africa. It is active in the market as an integrator and is providing facilities for a local telecoms company, MTN.
Construction spending has suffered during 2020 due to COVID-19, negative investor sentiment and slow economic growth across Africa. Regardless of this, the data centre market has remained comparatively strong.
There are four large scale data centres due to be developed in 2021 close to Johannesburg. There are many feasibility studies currently being undertaken in Cape Town and the surrounding region regarding suitable land parcels. In Nigeria, there are two large data centres scheduled for completion in 2021.
Africa Data Centres (under the Liquid Telecoms South Africa group) is currently committed to rolling out 14MW of white space, which will be completed in 2021. Teraco Data Environments remains Africa’s largest data centre operator, with a 38MW data centre planned for 2021 through to 2022.
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