The African data center colocation market is arguably the hottest growth area in the African ICT market, according to a new report by research and analytics firm Xalam Analytics.
The report, titled “African Data Center Boom” notes that African data center market growth has reached an inflection point. “More multi-tenant data center facilities will be built across Africa over the next two years than were established over the past three combined. Data center colocation space, power, and revenue are all set to double over the next five years.”
This, the report says, reflects the vital role played by data center facilities as Africa enters the fourth industrial revolution. “Data centers are critical infrastructure for African digital transformation, nearly as much as mobile data or fibre connectivity” notes Guy Zibi, Xalam Principal Analyst and one of the authors of the report. “The supercharged growth we are starting to see is a testimony to their increasing importance.”
Last year, global cloud services provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it would open its first AWS Middle East region in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Bahrain choice was a surprise for most observers of Middle East cloud and hosting markets, for it bucked conventional Middle East cloud wisdom. Alibaba, Microsoft and Google are all building their Middle East cloud regions out of Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Riyadh, the region’s largest data center metros.
On the surface, requiring companies to host data locally would seem an attractive option to foster local industry and data sovereignty. The question is whether it ultimately does more harm than good.
Last August, an Indian expert panel committee released its initial recommendations for the country’s upcoming privacy law, including a requirement for companies to store Indian user data in servers physically located in the country. The committee’s recommendations have touched off a fierce debate on the future of India’s digital ecosystem. As more African countries push to adapt their legal frameworks to the Internet age, the same debates are intensifying here.