BusinessDay

IFC, Liquid seal $250m pact to expand data centre in Africa

On Monday, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, sealed a partnership pact with Liquid Intelligent Technologies to expand the firm’s data centre capacity.

Four African countries will be benefiting from this expansion. They are Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa. IFC will be bringing $250 million to the table which will also be deployed to facilitate the rollout of fibre optic cable across the continent.

Makhtar Diop, managing director at IFC, explained that the corporation’s digital strategy in Africa is aimed at enabling far-reaching, reliable and affordable connectivity. He added that their investment in Liquid would help expand access to infrastructure and digital services that power Africa’s digital economy.

Strive Masiyiwa also noted that the investment would support their growth plans over the coming years by encouraging the adoption of new services such as cloud and other digital services which are critical in driving sustainable development across Africa.

IFC has shown good investment interest in emerging markets and this interest is driven by lack of infrastructure coupled with an increasing demand for quality services in these markets, according to Estate Intel, an online real estate technology platform.

The World Bank backed corporation is rapidly taking a position in these emerging markets and has invested in real estate sub-sectors across the continent including healthcare, student housing and cloud storage infrastructure.

Read also: Cloud Exchange, Huawei to unveil Africa’s first prefabricated Tier IV data centre

Estate Intel recalls that, in April this year, IFC published a report on the student housing landscape in South Africa and, in May, invested $10 million in the country’s student housing market through a partnership with Eris. So far, the corporation has a portfolio of over $2 billion in healthcare across the world’s emerging markets.

Martin Uche, a Senior Researcher at Estate Intel, notes that “the growing adoption of technology by businesses across industries coupled with governments investing to connect their people to the internet, is driving up demand for cloud services across the world; so far, Africa’s investment in Data Centres pales in comparison to other regions across the globe.”

According to the broadband commission on sustainable development, sub-Saharan Africa needs around $100 billion in investment to achieve universal, affordable and high-quality broadband access by 2030.

“So far”, Uche says, “ the only notable investments in West Africa are the MDX-I 100 rack facility that started construction in Ghana around May 2020, the African Data Centre by GREA, and the Actis/Consonance Partners backed $100 million Rack centre expansion in Lagos.”

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