Digital Realty and Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund, which is led by Phuthuma Nhleko, today announced the formation of a joint venture to acquire Medallion Data Centres, a colocation and interconnection provider in Nigeria for $29m. Additionally, through Digital Realty’s subsidiary iColo, both Digital Realty and Pembani Remgro are partnering on a data center development project in Mozambique, which borders South Africa.

Digital Realty notes that these investments represent the beginning of its $500m commitment to invest in Africa over the next 10 years. Prior to today’s announcements, Digital Realty’s presence in Africa consisted of only three data centers in Kenya’s cities of Nairobi and Mombasa.

Nigeria – Medallion Data Centres

Medallion Data Centres (MDC) is a carrier-neutral data center operator with two facilities in Nigeria. Specifically, one data center is in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, with the other in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.

Lagos, Nigeria – Data Center

Medallion’s Lagos data center is a connectivity hub in Western Africa where 70+ carriers and internet service providers (ISPs) reside. Additionally, 80%+ of the public peering traffic on the Nigerian Internet Exchange passes through Medallion’s Lagos facility.

Medallion’s Lagos data center acts as a peering point for all subsea cables currently operating in Nigeria. Furthermore, Medallion plans to serve as a peering point for the nine new subsea cables scheduled to be in operation in Lagos by 2023. For example, this includes the 2Africa subsea cable.

Expansion Capacity

Digital Realty and Pembani Remgro’s joint venture is also acquiring a land parcel adjacent to Medallion’s Lagos data center. Indeed, this will provide Digital Realty near-term expansion capacity in Nigeria, one of Africa’s largest markets.

Management

Medallion Data Centres is led by its CEO and co-founder Ike Nnamani. He will continue to lead the business under Digital Realty and Pembani Remgro’s ownership.

Mozambique – Data Center Development

Digital Realty, through its 70%-owned subsidiary iColo, alongside Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund are partnering on the development of a data center in Mozambique. Specifically, this facility will be located in Mozambique’s capital and port city of Maputo.

Initially, both firms have closed on the acquisition of a land parcel for $3m, which will enable the development of a 0.4-megawatt, 3.9k sqft facility. The total expected investment in Maputo is presently $10.8m.

Notably, Maputo, Mozambique is also a key entry point into Africa for subsea cables. To this end, existing or future subsea cables including 2Africa, Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), and SEACOM all land in Maputo. Finally, Maputo can connect via terrestrial fiber to Johannesburg, South Africa, which is situated only ~300 miles (~480 kilometers) inland.

Kenya – Digital Realty’s iColo Data Center Expansion

As of Q2 2021, Digital Realty’s iColo operated data center campuses in Africa within Kenya’s cities of Nairobi and Mombasa, which together comprised 0.8 megawatts of IT load and 25.8k sqft. Furthermore, iColo is growing, with its recent and planned expansions including:

  • Nairobi: acquisition of an additional 215k sqft of land which will support 14 megawatts of future data center capacity
  • Mombasa: recently expanded, delivering an additional 1.6 megawatts of power capacity and 12.9k sqft

Africa Data Centers – Digital Realty Expands

Digital Realty and Pembani Remgro’s expansion across Africa will bring internet exchange points (IXPs) closer to Africa’s underserved markets. Concurrently, the expansion of terrestrial fiber and subsea cables connecting major metro areas in Africa is fueling the continent’s growth.

Overall, net operational data center floor space in Africa will increase from 5.4 million to 7.2 million sqft by 2023. Additionally, net uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in Africa will rise from 733 megawatts to almost 900 megawatts by 2023.

Mary Zhang covers Data Centers for Dgtl Infra, including Equinix (NASDAQ: EQIX), Digital Realty (NYSE: DLR), CyrusOne, CoreSite Realty, QTS Realty, Switch Inc, Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM), Cyxtera (NASDAQ: CYXT), and many more. Within Data Centers, Mary focuses on the sub-sectors of hyperscale, enterprise / colocation, cloud service providers, and edge computing.

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