AIIM expands its digital infrastructure footprint with investment in carrier-neutral, co-location data centre via newly-incorporated Onix Data Centre platform
African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), one of the continent’s largest infrastructure-focused private equity fund managers, and Onix Data Centres (Onix DC) have acquired a majority stake in Ngoya Etix DC-Ghana – a carrier-neutral data centre with a current capacity of 170 racks (expandable to 680 racks).
Dr. Sam Ankrah, a renowned Ghanaian investment banker and businessman, led the buyout. Located in the Greater Accra Region, the facility – to be named Onix Accra #1 – is the only Tier IV data centre in West Africa, and is expected to be the largest operational data centre in Ghana once fully ramped-up; providing physical space, power, cooling, connectivity and security to customers.
Onix Accra #1 is partly powered by solar energy, which helps reduce its carbon footprint in the immediate locality.
Connectivity for Onix Accra #1 is provided by Vodafone, Comsys and C Squared, offering both primary and redundant capacity, with other carriers lined up to provide additional capacity. Onix DC has plans to install an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in the facility, ensuring a comprehensive and robust connectivity ecosystem for its customer base of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), telcos, government departments and state-owned enterprises, Content Distribution Networks (CDNs), cloud providers, hyperscalers and large enterprises.
The acquisition comes at a time when Africa’s digital economy is growing exponentially. For instance, between 2010 and 2019 more than 300 million Africans gained access to the Internet, confirming a shift toward digital processes and lifestyles. Digital access is increasingly fundamental to economic growth and the socioeconomic advancement of individuals.
Although small, the sub-Saharan African data centre market is growing fast, with co-location capacity increasing by 50 percent in 2020 from 2019 levels. The COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated the need for digital infrastructure investment, with 75 percent of the population expected to have access to the Internet by 2025.
Commenting on the acquisition, Dr Ankrah – who is both an investor and board member of Onix DC said: “I am delighted to have led this buyout with the support of AIIM, who are long standing supporters and investors in Ghana. I was involved in bringing this data centre to Accra, and believe this high-quality facility will become the leading data centre in Accra. We already have many discussions underway with clients, and I am looking forward to announcing high profile occupiers of the facility in the coming months.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the importance of remote working and online connectivity. Accra is the landing point for a number of submarine cables, and I see the advent of Google’s Equiano cable and Facebook’s 2Africa cable resulting in Ghana becoming an interconnectivity hub – and our data centre will be at the heart of this hub.”
* A Tier IV data centre gives its clients a guarantee of uptime and two times the amount required for operation – cooling, redundant power and infrastructure. Tier IV is considered an enterprise-level service and has much greater site infrastructure than that of a Tier III data centre. The Global Data Center Authority’s Uptime Institute is responsible for the proprietary ‘Tier Standard System’.