Data Centre Operators Move to Up Nigeria’s Rating on Data Economy Readiness

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Emma Okonji

Worried about Nigeria’s low rating on data infrastructure and data economy readiness, which currently stood at between 2-3 per cent, Data Centre operators have proffered solutions on how best to boost the country’s data economy readiness.

The operators who spoke at a recent breakfast meeting organised by Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) in Lagos, said one of the ways to improve Nigeria’s data economy readiness was for Data Centre operators to work together in establishing more data centres across the country, and also encourage Nigerian business owners and their foreign counterparts, who operate businesses in Nigeria, to domicile their data hosting locally in Nigeria, as against the current practice where most business owners prefer to host their local data abroad, for fear of data insecurity and high service cost.

Managing Director/Chief Executive, Medallion Communications, Mr. Ikechukwu Nnamani, one of the major players in Data Centre operations in Nigeria, who made presentation at the breakfast meeting, said: “Nigeria needs to develop local content and more data that would enable Nigerians and Africans to tell their own stories better and change the old narrative.”

He also said Nigeria needed at least two Data Centres established in each state of the federation, in order to bring data centre operation closer to the people, which he said, would help reduce the cost of data centre services across the country.

According to Nnamani, “If our contents are local, we should have better opportunity of telling our own story in a positive light and all these will help our rating to improve. For instance, I seat on the board of Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), which is the .ng domain administrator, and I have the opportunity to know that as at last year, less than 5per cent of all active .ng domain name registered in Nigeria was hosted in Nigeria and over 95 per cent was hosted outside Nigeria. The implication is that more of the local contents generated in Nigeria are hosted outside the country, amounting to huge loss of revenue stream through capital flight.”

People host data outside of Nigeria because most of them are unaware that there are standard Tier 111 Data Centres in the country, even though they are not sufficient, Nnamani said.

Director of Operations at Rack Centre, another big player in Tier 111 Data Centre and colocation operations, Mr. Ezekiel Egboye, said all that needed to be done was for the existing data Centre operators to boost their hosting capacities by expanding their data centre operations beyond their current location.

He said Rack Centre is already upgrading its data centre facilities and ready to increase the capacity to accommodate the increasing demand for data centre services. He said one of the ways to boost Nigeria’s data economy readiness is to ensure that all local data are domiciled locally and hosted locally in Nigeria.

He said Rack Centre would continue to invest in Nigeria, having had the broadest range of connected carriers in West Africa, hosting the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria.

Another data centre operator, MDXi, is optimistic that the country’s data economy readiness could improve if the current rate at which data Centre operators are expanding their operational base are maintained.
General Manager, MDXi, Mr. Gbenga Adegbiyi, at the breakfast meeting, said before now, Nigeria did not have the right data infrastructure spread across the country, and this to a large extent, affected data centre efficiency, which also affected the country’s data infrastructure and data economy readiness.

He said government at all levels needed to understand how technology drives development fast, in order to create the enabling environment that will help technologies develop economies faster.