Africa Data Centre to set up a new centre in Nairobi

Data Centre

Cassava Technologies Group President & CEO Hardy Pemhiwa, (left) UK High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott and Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie during the official groundbreaking of an additional data centre facility by Africa Data Centres, a business of Cassava Technologies, at Sameer Business Park on January 19, 2023. 

Photo credit: Diana Ngila | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

Kenya’s rapid adoption of digital technologies in Africa and its growing trademark as an investment destination for international cloud providers has attracted a Pan-African technology group which will construct a new data centre in Nairobi.

The project is in line with the company’s expansion plans announced in 2021, which will see Africa Data Centres invest Sh62 billion into building hyperscale data centres across Africa with the support of the US Development Finance Corporation.

Africa Data Centres, a business of Cassava Technologies' new building will expand its existing data centre by up to 15MW of IT load and the facility will be built in the company's leading-edge modular design.

The multi-million-shilling project will be completed in the first half of 2024 and will bring five times more capacity than is currently installed.  

Data centres

“We believe that data centres will play a significant role in digital transformation and economic growth on our continent. Without them, the push towards a digital economy in Africa will be missing a key pillar. Our decision to increase our investment in our data centres in Kenya is in recognition of the position the country now occupies as a leader in the adoption of digital technologies in Africa," said Hardy Pemhiwa, Group President and chief executive officer of Cassava Technologies.

During the ground-breaking ceremony on Friday, Tesh Durvasula, chief executive officer of Africa Data Centres, said, "The expansion will enable Africa Data Centre clients to grow and scale depending on their requirements. They can start small, increase to a medium capacity, and even benefit from a hyper-scale type of deployment in a few years if they choose to. This will enable customers to operate multiple deployments across our sites with a single operations team, campus, and infrastructure they are familiar with".

Kenya pioneered mobile money, and today boasts a wide range of incubators and tech startups, a clear sign of innovative tech culture.

The focus on Kenya as a key region aims to take the region further into the digital era and uplift the country's profile globally as an attractive investment destination for international cloud providers, hyperscalers, and other ICT companies.

Adiabatic systems

The new data facility will begin with 5MW of IT load and will take an innovative approach that sees the entire facility, including all critical plant rooms, prefabricated off-site.

This ensures the highest possible quality, while local contractors will benefit from contracts to lay foundations, assemble, and other works.

Mr Durvasula said that sustainability will be key and Africa Data Centres will enforce a strict policy of not using adiabatic systems.

"We do not use water in any of our cooling systems and are one of the few colocation providers who have taken this step."

"With the newest technology, if free-cooling capacity is maximised, it becomes far more efficient and saves water which is becoming a critical commodity, particularly in Africa."

“Our objective is ensuring that we conduct ourselves in a manner that minimises our impact on the environment. We extend this ethos to all of our partners, and constantly look for ways to ensure that all elements of the business contribute positively to the sustainability of the planet,” said Mr Durvasula.