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Equinix to invest $390M in African expansion

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Digital infrastructure firm Equinix will invest US$390 million in Africa over the next five years to build data centers.

The company said it will also expand its operations across South Africa and West Africa while looking for investment opportunities in East Africa.

"We will continue to invest where it makes sense on the continent, and we are undergoing a number of studies to ascertain these opportunities," said Equinix South Africa MD Sandile Dube.

"The money planned for investment includes the construction of data centers at our current operations, but excludes plans for additional markets," Dube added.

"We're going to need key hubs on the continent as we have in Europe, which is why we have started with Lagos, Johannesburg, and, in time, we would like to add Nairobi," he continued.

Equinix spreading its African wings

The $390 million investment comes almost two years after the company made its entry into Africa by acquiring West African data center and connectivity solutions provider MainOne for US$320 million.

The MainOne deal was first announced in December 2021, and planned to extend Platform Equinix into West Africa, giving organizations based inside and outside Africa access to global and regional markets.

Equinix MD in South Africa, Sandile Dube.  (Source: Equinix)
Equinix MD in South Africa, Sandile Dube.
(Source: Equinix)

The acquisition added three operational data centers to Equinix's portfolio, in Nigeria, Ghana, and Cote d'Ivoire.

In December 2022, Equinix announced a $160 million data center investment in Johannesburg that is expected to open mid-2024. That data center will establish connections for businesses within and outside South Africa, linking them to a network of Equinix customers and partners within the global Equinix ecosystem.

In November 2023, MainOne launched an expanded open access, carrier-neutral data center in Côte d'Ivoire.

African data center boom

The Equinix investment comes as Africa is seeing an increase in the building of these kinds of facilities.

In November 2023, Raxio Data Centres announced the official launch of its newest facility in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Liquid Intelligent Technologies, meanwhile, teamed up with a provider of carrier-neutral data center services, Wingu.Africa, to launch a second Azure hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) stack in Tanzania in October 2023.

The continent's cloud market has also been growing well over the past few years. In early February 2024, tech company Oracle announced plans to establish a public cloud region in Kenya's capital city of Nairobi.

The Oracle announcement was made at the same time that tech giant Google Cloud launched a new cloud region in Johannesburg, South Africa, its first in Africa.

Microsoft Azure was the first to land data centers in South Africa in March 2019, with one in Johannesburg and another in Cape Town.

AWS then launched its Africa Region in Cape Town in April 2020.

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— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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