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Data centres set to attract $600m investment

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By Usman Oladimeji

Foreign companies have revealed plans to build facilities in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s data center industry is experiencing significant growth, despite facing challenges related to power supply. In recent years, there has been an influx of activity in this sector, with multiple foreign companies announcing plans to build facilities in the country. Some of these facilities are already operational, contributing to the expansion of the industry. In an interview with the media, Dr. Ayotunde Coker, the CEO of Open Access Data Centres (OADC), elaborated the impact of this business on the economy of Nigeria and what attracts investors to establish data center facilities in the country.

Among the topics discussed by Coker is the movement towards hosting data locally, driven by the rise of large data centres and the growing emphasis on data sovereignty regulations. This shift is predicted to result in the migration of data workloads from Europe to Africa, with the added incentive of limited capacity and resources in European data centres. Nigeria has seen a surge in investments in data centres in recent years. Various companies have been constructing data centres across the country, with Airtel Africa being the most recent to join in by revealing plans for a new data center in Lagos.

Digital Realty revealed plans for a 10-megawatt African Data Centre.

Coker believes that Nigeria’s favourable geophysical location, combined with its size, indicates promising potential. Our produced content holds importance, with broadband penetration exceeding 40% as per the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) data. When asked about investment value in data centres in Nigeria, Coker highlighted Rack Centre’s progress, currently operating 1.5 megawatts of IT load with plans for an expansion to 12 megawatts. MainOne has reached a similar milestone, with its power capacity now ranging from 2 to 2.5 megawatts as it prepares for further expansion.

OADC is also in the process of constructing a total of 24 megawatts in two phases of 12 megawatts each, according to him. Digital Realty has also revealed plans for a 10-megawatt African Data Centre. Coker stated that the estimated cost of $10 million per megawatt would amount to around $600 million for the complete development of the facilities within the next 18 to 36 months. When asked about the main data centre operational challenges in Nigeria, Coker responded that while challenges exist, they are faced head-on and successfully managed.

Achieving reliability in Nigeria data centres requires precision.

Maintaining reliable uptime in data centres can be challenging, requiring a strategic approach to power management. It is essential to ensure a continuous power supply, whether through utility power, IPP, or generator sources to prevent any disruptions in operations. Additionally, recruiting skilled professionals with the necessary expertise is crucial in overcoming potential obstacles in the management of data centres. It is important to not only focus on recruiting and developing strong, talented young individuals, but also on cultivating a team of experienced professionals who can contribute to the overall growth and success of the organization.

Additionally, obtaining access to appropriate funding is a critical issue. It is common for individuals to incorporate an African risk element when determining the cost of obtaining funds. Acquiring the appropriate funding and possessing the necessary project management skills both require a significant amount of time and effort. When asked about the Nigeria environment for operating data centres, he explained that achieving reliability, uptime, and optimal client service levels in data centres in Nigeria requires careful precision in maintaining the mechanical and electrical equipment responsible for powering the racks and devices. The operational process must be exact to ensure success.

Related Article: NCC calls for more data center investments

Talking about his company, Coker enthusiastically noted that OADC is revolutionizing the industry. By allowing companies offering various solutions to utilize our networks, we are enabling them to showcase their distinctive value to customers. Our dynamic interconnect site offers peering and interconnection, experiencing rapid growth within the data centre. We have plans to establish data centres in strategic locations throughout Nigeria, and the details of these developments will be gradually revealed as we move forward with the implementation, he stated.

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NCC: Website

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