CFO Finhai Munzara expects investment in data centres to grow

Finhai explains that Africa’s internet economy is projected to reach five percent of the country’s GDP.

According to Africa Data Centres CFO Finhai Munzara, investment in data centres is gaining momentum across Africa as enterprises move from infrastructure stakeholders to focus on their core business.

He explains that, with investment projected to grow from $2 billion (about R30.8 billion) in 2020 to (about R76.9 billion) by 2026, there remains significant room for growth.

“Africa is undergoing a digital revolution, with the internet economy projected to reach $180 billion (about R2.8 trillion) – or five percent of Africa’s GDP – by 2025,” Finhai says. “Africa has 17 percent of the world’s population, but only one percent of its data centre capacity, so it’s a nascent economy.”

He adds that currently, around 40 percent of the continent’s data centres are held by telcos, but that there is massive investment coming into the colocation carrier neutral space. “There is growing interest in African data centres from international development finance institutions and infrastructure funds are recognising data centres as an asset class, so we expect growth to continue.”

Incumbent multi-tenant carrier neutral providers are expected to invest heavily in delivering larger deployments. “We expect more mergers and acquisitions as organisations that have their own data centres start offloading them. Enterprise migration to colocation data centres will accelerate as their own facilities are non-core to business,” Finhai explains.

He used the example of Standard Bank, whose South Africa data centre was acquired by Africa Data Centres in 2020. “This Tier IV data centre in Samrand is now focused on the financial services sector, offering maximum security and resilience with the advantage of a colocation ecosystem that cross-connects the industry.”

And, while he adds that the market has become more competitive, differentiators would include innovation and sustainability. “Africa Data Centres has the advantage that we have been growing and establishing our footprint for some time. We have a pan-African network that can offer the same offering replicated across the continent. We also innovate in areas such as design and efficiency, and prioritise sourcing and generating renewable power, which not only assures electricity supply but also helps customers achieve their de-carbonisation goals.”