Data centres in Africa

Growing internet penetration, social media usage and smart infrastructure initiatives will continue to propel the African market forward over the coming years.

As an emerging data centre market, Africa witnessed around 15 data centre investments in 2020. The data centre sector has seen a steady growth in interest from major global cloud service providers such as AWS, Microsoft, Google and Oracle over the last five years.

South Africa is the largest market in Africa for data centres. With a total GDP of over US$301.92 billion and a contribution of up to 19 percent from the digital economy, South Africa’s data centre industry is thriving and could boost the GDP overall in the coming years by three percent.

South Africa is the number 25 globally ranked country on Cloudscene based on data centre density. The country’s top service providers include Dimension Data (NTT), Africa Data Centres, Teraco and Business Connexion.

West Africa is playing a key role in data centre growth on the continent. Nigeria is Africa’s largest ICT market, accounting for 29 percent of internet usage in Africa with 47 internet users per 100. The country’s top service providers include Rack Centre, Africa Data Centres, MainOne and Netcom.

Kenya in East Africa is a more nascent but growing market for data centres. The country’s top service providers include Africa Data Centres, Console Connect and China Telecom. Nairobi is positioning itself as a tech hub for the region.

Construction market conditions and publicly known projects

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 renewable and clean energy sources.

Oracle has recently announced its first data centre in Africa which is to be constructed in Johannesburg and will extend the Oracle cloud region footprint.

Teraco Data Environments remains Africa’s largest data centre operator (110MW). They have just opened a new hyperscale data centre in Cape Town with the completion of the first phase of Teraco's CT2 – the new facility is now the largest data centre in the Western Cape.

2022 outlook

Construction spending has continued to suffer during 2021 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 centre developments due to be developed in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town, these developments are all scalable and will increase the MW capacity in South Africa by circa. 400MW.

Many data centre providers are looking into feasibilities of available land parcels or facilities, as a way to enter the African data centre ecosystem.

In Nigeria, there is one large data centre expansion scheduled for completion in 2022, which will increase capacity substantially in West Africa.

For further information contact:

Wendy Cerutti
e: [email protected]