Old Mutual bets on Africa data centre growth with Ghana deal - TechCentral

Old Mutual bets on Africa data centre growth with Ghana deal

Old Mutual’s private equity unit has acquired a stake in a second data centre in sub-Saharan Africa as it expands to take advantage of a shortfall in cloud storage capacity on the continent.

The investment, through its African Infrastructure Investment Managers fund, in conjunction with Onix Data Centres’ management team, will ramp up the size of the Ghanaian facility into the largest in the West African country. It will be renamed Onix Accra 1, with connectivity provided by Vodafone Group, Comsys Holdings and CSquared Innovations, the company said in a statement.

Africa accounts for just 1% of global data centre capacity even though the size has doubled in the past three years, according to Xalam Analytics. Demand for data storage capacity is expected to grow three times faster than supply as more Africans acquire smartphones and the impact of the coronavirus lockdowns boosts demand for data storage, according to the research.

The evolution of electronic storage spaces in many markets outside of South Africa remains inadequate to meet rising data demand, Ed Stumpf, AIIM’s investment director, said by e-mail. “Data centres underpin and enable the digital economy and present strong growth prospects for long-term investors such as AIIM.”

This is the fund’s second investment in digital infrastructure in the past four months, after MetroFibre Networx in South Africa. Amazon.com and Microsoft have been investing in data centre capacity mainly in South Africa, while Liquid Telecom and Actis Asset Management have raised a combined US$550-million for investment on the continent.

AIIM has $2-billion in assets on the continent in telecommunications, energy and transport. The Old Mutual unit raised $320-million for deals in 2019, and has raised $2.3-billion in total.  — Reported by Loni Prinsloo and Roxanne Henderson, (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP

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