Airtel Africa doubles down on data center business with new facility
Airtel Africa is set to contribute to the expansion of Africa's digital infrastructure with the launch of Nxtra, a data center business aimed at meeting the continent's growing digital economy and providing sustainable data center capacity. This development follows the telco's launch of a data center in Lagos just a year ago.
The new facility, designed to accommodate high-density racks and incorporate the latest construction practices to achieve a 1.3 power usage effectiveness (PUE), is scheduled to become operational in mid-2025. It is poised to deliver 34 megawatts of total power, establishing it as the first Nxtra facility in Lagos, Nigeria.
Through Nxtra, Airtel Africa intends to establish one of the largest networks of data centers in Africa, strategically positioning high-capacity data centers in major cities within its reach. Segun Ogunsanya, the Managing Director, highlighted the necessity for a rapid increase in data center capacity to support Africa's economic growth potential.
The surge in demand for data centers in Africa is being fueled by the expanding landscape of online retail and logistical requirements. Data centers offer a cost-effective and efficient solution for IT capabilities compared to in-house servers. Additionally, they provide cloud services, enabling organizations to concentrate on their core functions. In 2020, the data center market in Africa was valued at $2 billion, and it is anticipated to skyrocket to $5 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% from 2020 to 2026. This burgeoning sector has attracted the attention of global tech giants, e-commerce giants, and online retailers. Institutional investors are making significant strides in Africa's data center market, exemplified by Digital Realty's notable $3.5 billion acquisition of Terraco. This signifies the growing importance and investment potential of Africa's data center infrastructure in the broader global technology landscape.