Oxford Business Group, Africa Data Centre unveil insights into continent’s digital landscape

Oxford Business Group, in collaboration with the Africa Data Centres Association (ADCA), presents its latest Focus Report titled “Data Centres in Africa”, offering insights into the pivotal role of data centers in driving the continent’s digital evolution.

The comprehensive report delves into the intricate landscape of Africa’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. It examines how data centres contribute to economic growth, sustainability efforts, bridging the ICT skills gap, regulatory frameworks, and the imperative of integrating environmental responsibility into their operations.

Africa’s data centre market is poised for substantial growth, with a projected 50% capacity increase by 2026. Fuelled by a burgeoning digital economy and rising internet penetration, the continent presents lucrative opportunities despite infrastructure and regulatory challenges.

The report highlights Africa’s evolving data centre ecosystem, analysing infrastructure development, broadband expansion, and regulatory frameworks. It underscores the importance of bridging the ICT skills gap and integrating sustainability into data centre operations. With a focus on environmental responsibility and innovation, Africa’s data centre sector spearheads digital transformation and sustainable economic development continent-wide.

Key findings from the report reveal significant capacity growth, with Africa’s data centre capacity expected to increase by 50% between 2021 and 2026. However, the distribution of data centres across the continent remains uneven, with some areas lacking adequate facilities, presenting opportunities for further development.

Government initiatives play a crucial role in driving data centre capacity growth. Across the continent they are actively fostering partnerships with international cloud service providers and implementing initiatives to transfer data to national data centres, as well as the supportive infrastructure that is required as a result.

Bridging the ICT skills gap is identified as a crucial factor for broader internet adoption and increased demand for data centre capacity. African start-ups and digital professionals are playing a pivotal role in providing digital skills training.

Furthermore, the report highlights the growing focus on data sovereignty in African countries, with regulations being aligned with global standards, something with important implications for data centre growth in the coming years.

Sustainability is also a key focus area, with efforts underway to establish energy-efficient practices and address water consumption in cooling systems, given Africa’s high temperatures requiring additional cooling.

Ayotunde Coker, Chairman of ADCA, emphasises the urgent need for collaborative efforts, including special economic zones and renewable energy incentives, to unlock Africa’s digital potential and accelerate its development.

“As Africa leads this transformative wave, data centres emerge as the linchpin driving regional growth, powered by high-speed fibre-optic links and strategic investments. Key markets such as Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, and Morocco capitalise on their competitive advantages to attract investment and accelerate digital infrastructure development,” he highlighted.

Karine Loehman, OBG’s Managing Director for Africa, expresses optimism regarding the report, stating, “As Africa leads the digital revolution, our latest Focus Report sheds light on the essential role of digital infrastructure in shaping the continent’s economic landscape. It underscores the critical contribution of data centres as primary drivers of regional growth, emphasising the necessity for collaborative efforts to overcome infrastructure hurdles and unleash Africa’s digital potential.”

In addition to ADCA, MainOne– a West African submarine communications cable company with a presence in Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire– and Paix– a provider of cloud- and carrier-neutral data centre services across Africa– were also important partners involved in the production of this report.

Data Centres in Africa is now available to view and download at: https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/reports/focus-report-understanding-the-impact-of-data-centres-on-africas-digital-economy-focus-report/ 

About Oxford Business Group

Oxford Business Group (OBG) is a global research and advisory company with a presence in over 30 countries, spanning Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas. It is recognised internationally as a distinctive and respected provider of on-the-ground intelligence on world’s fastest-growing markets, termed The Yellow Slice, in reference to OBG’s corporate colour.

Through its range of products – Economic News and Views; OBG CEO Surveys; OBG Events and Conferences; Global Platform, which hosts exclusive video interviews; and The Report publications – as well as its Advisory division, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate analysis of macroeconomic and sector-level developments for sound investment opportunities and business decisions.

OBG provides business intelligence to its subscribers through multiple platforms, including its direct subscribers, Dow Jones Factiva subscribers, the Bloomberg Professional Services subscribers, Refinitiv’s (previously Thomson Reuters) Eikon subscribers, and more.


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