Financing a continent

Financing a continent

Marco Angelino .jpg

As Raxio expands in Africa amid major investment in the region, CFO Marco Angelino discusses the data centre operator’s future there with Capacity

Since being established in 2018, Raxio Group has embarked on projects across Africa to establish a network of interconnected data centres by 2023.

After completing its first facility in Uganda in 2021, the company now has presences in Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique.

Raxio’s chief financial officer, Marco Angelino, believes it is well-positioned to build on a strong foundation by developing data centre infrastructure to meet “inadequately addressed demand”.

Angelino admits that when he joined the company he had very little knowledge of the industry, having spent 15 years in the energy, infrastructure and banking sectors.

But since joining Raxio, he has been impressed by its massive potential and the speed at which the data centre industry is evolving.

Given that speed, Angelino believes that CFOs in the industry must create “solid foundations” within their organisations to make it easier for their businesses to succeed.

“[We must] implement tools that facilitate the decision-making process at all levels without creating unnecessary burdens in terms of processes and admin,” he says.

These main problems that Angelino has found as the company continues to expand in Africa surround the speed of administration procedures, clarity of legislation, enabling regulation and a lack of infrastructure.

“These are some of the challenges we face daily, but I do not think these are data centre-specific. I think they are more general issues that investors face in Africa, regardless of the industry,” he says.

Addressing these challenges in a way that mitigates their long-term effects will be the key to Raxio’s future, Angelino believes, adding that two things will play an overarching role in this: technology and people.

This is even more important given the need to balance the needs for structure and flexibility, while providing the company with the agility it requires to succeed.

African expansion

Africa’s data centre market is set to grow at a phenomenal pace. According to the advisory and research firm Xalam Analytics, the market will grow from 1% of global colocation data centre supply in 2021 to 25% by 2024.

Angelino agrees, saying that when Africa’s population trend is considered, the continent “clearly has a double-digit potential growth rate for the next 10-15 years”.

However, the continent’s existing data centres are concentrated in a few countries, such as South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

“In these countries we observe a higher level of internet penetration, digitalisation and mobile data traffic,” Angelino says. “These are some of the main indicators to identify the potential growth of the industry, which are highly related to demographic trends and infrastructure readiness.”

With the potential for the continent clear, it is important for Raxio to have a strategic plan and vision.

“We’re building the foundation of digital economies by developing data centre infrastructure to meet inadequately addressed demand,” he says.

From an investment perspective, the company also has clear targets, looking at niche markets where it can identify solid indicators in terms of population growth, mobile penetration and infrastructure readiness.


Last year, Raxio received a US$48 million investment from Meridiam, a French asset manager that specialises in mobility, social infrastructure and energy transition.

Angelino says Meridiam’s investment means Raxio can enlarge and upscale its development plan. The money will go to deploying “a network of data centres across the African continent”, which Raxio said will utilise design and technology to minimise the network’s environmental impact.

“Meridiam also brings a lot of experience in the continent, which is a perfect fit for Raxio,” he adds. “Raxio’s strategy now has a larger geographical footprint and a higher level of diversification.”

Angelino adds that his company is flexible and open to including new markets in its investment plan; provided that these indicators, combined with financial metrics, make sense for it. That is why it invested in a Tier III data centre in Tanzania.

Angelino says the country has several strong macroeconomic factors working in its favour: it is the second-most populous country in East Africa, serves as an important hub for the region and its GDP is projected to grow above 5% year-on-year.

Angelino also highlights that Tanzania boasts a healthy and competitive telecoms ecosystem and is a key market for any company looking to scale in Africa.

“These are some of the core ingredients that supported our decision to invest in Tanzania and will help Raxio to consolidate our presence in Eastern Africa and further cement our role as the pan-African data centre operator with the widest footprint in Africa,” he says.

Raxio also aims to create an investment platform that is sustainable and environmentally conscious at its core, and will contribute to the digitalisation and economic growth of the continent.

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