‘Investment in African Data Centres Will Boost Nigeria’s Digital Economy’

Emma Okonji

The Chief Executive Officer of Medallion Data Centre Limited, formerly Medallion Communications Limited, Ikechukwu Nnamani has said the recent announcement by Digital Realty, a global provider of cloud and carrier-neutral data centre services, to invest $500 million into African Data Centre operations, will boost Nigeria’s quest for a fully digital economy in the near future.

Nnamani said the entrance of Digital Realty into Nigeria would be truly significant as it would ensure that the plan by the federal government of Nigeria to create a fully digital economy would be actualised.
Nnamani who spoke in Lagos after the announcement of the fresh investment plan, expressed delight at the successful conclusion of the transaction and pointed out that Nigeria as a country, remained the biggest beneficiary of the investment plan.

Digital Reality had earlier this week in its attempt to foray significantly into the African data centre market, which many analysts and industry watchers described as untouched, announced the investment of $500 million into the African data centre ecosystem with a huge part of the investment going into the Nigerian market.

Speaking on the investment, Chief Executive Officer of Digital Realty, William Stein, said there was a need to tap into the Africa’s expanding internet economy, noting that over the next decade, there will be huge opportunity for global businesses to tap into with predictions that it could reach 5.2 per cent of the continent’s GDP by 2025, contributing nearly $180 billion to its economy up from $115 billion in 2020.

“Starting with Medallion Data Centres in Nigeria, Digital Realty aims to be a core enabler of African economy through major investment in the continent’s internet infrastructure, that serves over one billion people who do not yet have proper access to the benefits of internet,” Stein said.

He disclosed that the expansion of Digital Realty into the African internet infrastructure would be a leap forward, adding that it is just the start of a $500 million commitment to investment in the continent over the next decade. He stressed that Digital Realty would see a huge opportunity to underpin Africa’s expanding internet economy and ultimately, play a central role in its growth.

Nnamani said for Nigeria to transition to a fully digital economy, it would need next generation telecom infrastructure of which data centres are a critical part.

Nnamani further said: “None of the global digital content and cloud service providers has their storage or compute nodes in Nigeria or any of the West African countries. To attract global players in the telecom and ICT space to Nigeria, we must have world class data centres operating at hyperscale level.

“Although Medallion has a robust datacenter business and rated as one of the best datacenter operator in the region, we realised we needed a global player with international experience to work with if we are to fulfill the expectation of the emerging datacenter market in the sub-region.”

This, he added, prompted Medallion to structure investment with Digital Realty, largest global provider of cloud- and carrier-neutral data centers, colocation and interconnection solutions.

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