First Brick Holdings, a Roha Group company, plans to invest $50 million for multiple investments to boost the digitalisation of East and Southern Africa by developing data centres across the region.
EAC ICT Industry

First Brick Holdings to invest $50m to Accelerate Digital Transformation across East Africa

CAPETOWN - First Brick Holdings, a Roha Group company, plans to invest $50 million for multiple investments to boost the digitalisation of East and Southern Africa by developing data centres across the region.

The data centres will open up new opportunities for financial services, governments and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) by addressing their missioncritical needs for data storage, business continuity and disaster recovery and create a network of data centres able to accommodate international and regional customers in state-of-the-art facilities

“Economic growth in East Africa is averaging between 5-10 per cent across the region. When combined with parallel trends in digitalization and content consumption, we are seeing annual data usage and associated storage requirements increasing by 20-30 per cent,” commented Robert Mullins, Executive Director at First Brick Holdings at a meeting in Cape Town, South Africa on November 15.

“From mission-critical enterprise services to e-government initiatives, the digital transformation of East Africa is being held back by the lack of secure, scalable, reliable, low latency data storage solutions. By leading investment in, and development of, data centres in the region, we are unlocking this latent demand in the market and removing a significant barrier to the continued digital transformation of this exciting and vibrant market.”

Storing and processing data safely

First Brick Holdings’ initial investment is in Uganda, where the digital economy is accelerating at such a rate that there is an immediate requirement for facilities to store and process data safely and securely. Raxio Data Centre Ltd. (“Raxio”) is delivering Uganda’s first state-of-the-art Tier III, carrier neutral data centre in the Namanve Industrial and Business Park.

Due to open mid-2019, the data centre will have capacity for up to 400 racks, delivering 1.5MW of IT power. The Raxio data centre will be a key pillar to Uganda’s digital economy, reducing the cost of connectivity in the country and attracting global cloud service providers, content distribution networks and regional carriers.

“Data centre installations in East Africa are lagging behind other emerging economies, despite the region facing similar underlying trends in terms of the growth of data usage and storage requirements,” said James Byaruhanga, General Manager, Raxio Data Centre Ltd. “Businesses in Uganda are seeing their data requirements become increasingly more sophisticated and subject to data sovereignty compliance rules that necessitate local data storage and processing. These dynamics, coupled with the expansion ambitions of some of the world’s biggest companies who are either already active in or looking to expand into the East African market, is driving the commercial need for data centres.”

Fast, affordable digitalisation of Uganda

The desire for fast, affordable and safe digitalisation in Uganda is reflective of a broader need for data centre installations across East Africa. First Brick Holdings plans to invest in several more facilities across the continent, expecting five Tier III data centres to be live by 2022. With a total project investment of approximately $50 million, First Brick Holdings will address the latent demand for data centre infrastructure in various local markets.

“Our commitment to invest in this much-needed infrastructure is a fantastic opportunity for all players in the digital economy, lowering the overall cost of storing data and of operating increasingly complex and mission critical IT equipment. These state-of-art facilities will also serve as enablers, bringing access to local cloud computing closer to enterprises, and content closer to consumers,” concluded Mullins. “Not only that, but it will also contribute significantly to skilled job creation and tax revenue generation. East and Southern Africa is primed for these data centres and they will allow the region’s businesses to better compete on a global level.”