Africa Data Centres gets $300m from US government

Africa Data Centres gets $300m from US government for expansion and acquisitions

15 December 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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The US is investing US$300m in Liquid Telecom’s Africa Data Centres (ADC), to fund expansion in South Africa and Kenya as well as new builds and acquisitions elsewhere.

The International Development Finance Corporation (IFC), based in Washington DC, says the finance will also ADC’s entry into new markets in other African countries.

Strive Masiyiwa, head of Econet Wireless, the Zimbabwe operator that owns Liquid Telecom and ADC, said: “This money will allow us to expand our facilities in South Africa and Kenya, as well as build new facilities in Egypt, Ghana, and Morocco.”

He said that ADC will be working with its sister company DPA, which provides the power system for data centres, using solar energy and natural gas.

IFC, which was the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) until December 2019, when it merged with other units of the US government, is overseen by a board including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

The US investment is not directly connected with yesterday’s news that ADC is building a data centre in Lagos (pictured), its first in Nigeria, but as part of the same announcement Masiyiwa put the cost of that development at $100 million. “In the data centre world, this will be the largest facility outside South Africa,” said Masiyiwa. 

“This is our largest investment in Nigeria since the mobile industry started,” he said on Facebook. “Once again, I’m kicking off a new revolution in the next phase of technology. What is important is not the data centres but the technologies that will be unleashed in Nigeria because of this infrastructure. That’s the BIG deal here!”

Capacity understands that the data centre will be 10MW. Masiyiwa said that  “it will ultimately cover five acres” (2 hectares).

ADC said yesterday that it had acquired “a premium piece of land in Lagos” for it and that it had recruited Wole Abu to run Liquid Telecom and Africa Data Centres in Nigeria.