A new report from international consultants BroadGroup, ahead of its Invest in Data Center Africa Summit on June 8th, suggests that although Africa has been originally cast as a mobile story, there are signs that the transition to digitalising economies is encouraging the development of carrier neutral facilities but warns that the journey will be challenging given the relatively low base from which demand in most countries is starting.
In a new report, Data Center Africa, covering 16 country markets, research has identified 74 players with 91 data centers. The report reviews these country markets to see trends, key players, where they are now and how they are doing in the move to resolve supply issues such as reliable power infrastructure, alternative telecoms infrastructure, a national market for IP Peering, international bandwidth connectivity and an evolving a carrier neutral data center infrastructure.
Not everything is bad news. Some African countries actually have a power surplus and are exporting power. There is also growing investment in submarine cables to help with bringing in and distributing power. Even poor supply situations have their upside as Enterprise users are forced to choose between investing in their own back-up power generating capacity or migration to a more cost effective third party Data Center provider. It remains to be seen whether this will contribute sufficient impetus in demand for local third party hosting and content services in some African countries.
“Change has been slow but there are signs that growth is quickening,” commented Philip Low of BroadGroup. “A host of factors ranging from connectivity to physical environment to policy can act as barriers to growth but this new report looks beyond these issues and reveals new data center operators are discovering innovative solutions to provide services for their customers.”
The report suggests that potential in the markets which all operate at different speeds of development is significant. Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa all lead in development of data center eco systems and are achieving faster growth.
Yet IT outsourcing, content hosting locally and cloud are all at very early stages of evolution that can be accelerated with more distinct investment in fiber, low latency satellite broadband and sustained cable upgrades, and will eventually deliver an exciting and significantly sized market opportunity.
The first ever Invest in Data Center Africa Summit, will bring together the leadership of operating companies across the continent together with investors and companies engaged in the sector.