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Airtel Africa breaks ground on first Nxtra data center in Nigeria

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Airtel Africa's data center business, Nxtra by Airtel, has officially broken ground on its first data center in Lagos, Nigeria.

Airtel Africa – which is best known as a telecommunications and mobile money services provider with around 147.7 million customers in 14 countries across Africa – launched its Nxtra by Airtel data center business in December 2023.

The group aspires to become one of the largest networks of data centers in Africa, with high-capacity sites in major cities located strategically across Airtel Africa's footprint, complementing its existing edge sites.

The new data center, situated in Eko Atlantic City on Lagos' Victoria Island, will deliver 38 megawatts of total power and host high-density racks that integrate the latest best practice construction to achieve 1.3 power usage effectiveness (PUE).

Airtel expects the facility to be live by the first quarter of 2026.

Data center growth plans

The Lagos data center facility will be the first of five hyperscale data centers to be developed by Airtel Africa on the continent. The second of these has already been announced will be constructed in Nairobi, Kenya.

Combined, Nxtra's facilities will offer 180-megawatt capacity, distributed across 13 major data centers and more than 48 edge data centers.

Airtel Africa said that, coupled with its extensive fiber footprint, Nxtra offers secure and scalable integrated solutions to global hyper-scalers, large African enterprises, startups, small and midsize enterprises (SMEs), and governments.

Speaking during the Lagos event, Airtel Africa's outgoing Group CEO Segun Ogunsanya, said the Nxtra project marks a significant milestone, in the company's journey and is a cornerstone of the organization's growth strategy, with a particular focus on Nigeria – its largest market.

"We strongly believe that the establishment of Nxtra data centers will enhance data sovereignty, security, and preservation within the continent, reflecting our commitment to make Nigeria a major hub for access to digital services as we propel Africa towards a sustainable and inclusive digital age," he said.

A digital rendering of what the Airtel Nxtra data center facility at Eko Atlantic City in Lagos will look like once it is completed.   (Source: Airtel Africa)
A digital rendering of what the Airtel Nxtra data center facility at Eko Atlantic City in Lagos will look like once it is completed.
(Source: Airtel Africa)

"This mega project will provide over 1,000 jobs, and more significantly, once deployed and at capacity, it will create over 250 permanent jobs for Nigerians whilst supporting companies in the manufacturing, financial services, health care as they move their data and computing into third party data centers like ours. Ultimately, we have to store data and content closer to where it is being consumed," Ogunsanya added.

Airtel said the locally available data center capacity will help accelerate access to digital services and reduce the cost of managing data – thus spurring innovation, while supporting a new generation of African tech talent.

"Data is a key driver in our economy. Not only do we need to connect our people, we also must invest in the digital economy, and through the investment that companies like Airtel have made in our economy, we are fully able to participate in the digital economy," said Nigeria Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy Dr. Bosun Tijani, at the groundbreaking event.

Related posts:

*Top image is of Airtel Nigeria MD and CEO Carl Cruz; Airtel Africa Group CEO-Designate Sunil Taldar; Airtel Africa board member Awuneba Ajumogobia; Airtel Africa outgoing Group CEO Segun Ogunsanya; Governor of Lagos State Babajide Sanwo-Olu; and Nigeria Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy Dr. Bosun Tijani, during the groundbreaking ceremony of Airtel Nxtra data center in Lagos, Nigeria, on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. (Source: Airtel Africa)

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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