Tech (300)

In recent years, data center providers have stepped up investments in the African market. With this new investment, MainOne wants to attract additional clients and gain more market share. 

Nigerien data center provider MainOne announced on Monday, November 6, the commissioning of a new data center in VITIB (Village des Technologies de l'Information et de la Biotechnologie) located in the town of Grand-Bassam in Côte d'Ivoire. The aim is, among other things, to meet the growing demand for digital services, connectivity, and data storage in Côte d'Ivoire and French-speaking West Africa.

"With this launch of our new data center in Cote d’Ivoire, we are entering an exciting phase of transformation for businesses as it delivers a great opportunity to welcome more customers into our rich digital ecosystem, interconnected to the major digital players in the region and delivering 100% uptime connectivity to the internet. We expect this state-of-the-art facility to become a catalyst for digital innovation, providing a robust infrastructure for enterprises to thrive, and further reinforcing Cote d’Ivoire as the digital hub for the Francophone West African region," said Etienne Kouadio Doh, MainOne’s Country Manager in Cote D’Ivoire.

Like many cloud service providers, MainOne is capitalizing on the growing potential of the African market. The Nigerien provider, which set up its first data center on the continent in 2019, wants to conquer new markets. Hence the strategic choice of Côte d’Ivoire, which has become the favorite destination of many multinational companies eying the West African region, to host its data center. In October 2021, the French group Orange and the American Oracle signed a partnership agreement to build several African cloud regions. Côte d’Ivoire was unsurprisingly on the list of countries chosen for the project.  In November 2022, neutral data center provider Raxio Group announced the construction of its first infrastructure in Grand-Bassam in the framework of a project that aims to build more than a dozen similar infrastructure in Africa by 2025. 

Let’s note that MainOne is a subsidiary of Equinix, a global provider of digital infrastructure with more than 240 data centers in 32 countries on five continents.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On mercredi, 08 novembre 2023 14:46 Written by

Global finance has gone digital to prioritize convenience, efficiency, and speed. This choice has yielded positive effects across various sectors, particularly in commerce. In Africa, financial experts have also embraced this transformation but numerous challenges persist.

The fifth edition of the Next Fintech Forum will be held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on November 16-17, under the theme "Fintech and commerce: shaping African trade." Organized at the Radisson Blu by the Africa Fintech Forum, the two-day event will bring together several experts, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts from e-finance, commerce, finance, logistics, and many other related sectors.

They will discuss the impact of fintech on African commerce, and share their knowledge, ideas, and experiences in using financial technologies to stimulate business growth, enhance the customer experience, and strengthen the competitiveness of African trade on a global scale.

Speaking about the objectives of the Next Fintech Forum, Alex Sea, President and CEO of the Africa Fintech Forum, states: "In recent years, there has been a surge in the development of new business models, groundbreaking technologies, and customer-centric experiences that are revitalizing the global financial landscape. Fintech, which is the application of technology to deliver innovative financial solutions, is experiencing unprecedented growth. [It is] an attractive and dynamic sector that needs to be developed and structured, particularly in French-speaking Africa. Mindful of the disparity between a thriving, rapidly expanding industry and local infrastructures that may not be adequately equipped to harness the full potential of Fintech, our aim is to effect positive change.”

Over the past five years, the fintech sector has attracted the most interest from venture capitalists and angel investors in Africa. Of the $6.5 billion raised by African startups in 2022 –up 8% compared to 2021 according to Partech Africa– the fintech sector alone raised $1.9 billion (29.23% of all funds).  However, fintechs have not gained credibility or evolved their services sufficiently to meet the new needs of African markets.

In his report "Limits to the expansion of African fintechs", Idriss Linge, business journalist and editor-in-chief of Agence Ecofin, explains that fintechs need to overcome a number of challenges if they are to prosper further on the continent: they need to go beyond money transfer, payment or even small-scale credit.

With the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) becoming effective in January 2021, numerous commercial and financial opportunities are emerging on the continent. Opportunities to which fintechs could respond effectively through innovative solutions that will stimulate business growth and boost the competitiveness of African trade on a global scale.

Posted On mercredi, 08 novembre 2023 03:05 Written by

During the last two decades, approximately forty African satellites have been successfully launched into orbit, significantly enhancing telecommunications capabilities and territorial surveillance across the continent. With several more satellites currently in the developmental phase, scheduled launches are anticipated within the upcoming months.

On Wednesday 1ᵉʳ November, the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) signed a memorandum of understanding to develop, launch, and operate an Earth observation satellite for Mauritius.

The partnership, which runs over 15 months, also takes into account the training of MRIC engineers at ISRO's facilities in India for the design and development of the satellite platform, as well as its associated systems and primary payload.

The new MoU follows a recent visit to Bengaluru by Mauritius' Minister of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation (MITCI), Darsanand Balgobin (photo, right), and MRIC Board Chairman Dr Kaviraj Sharma Sukon. The delegation met with ISRO officials and discussed the technical details and application possibilities for putting a joint satellite into orbit.

The future joint microsatellite will be designed for remote sensing from Low Earth Orbit (LEO). It will enhance Mauritius's earth observation capabilities and the  help prevent and combat bushfires, floods, and erosion, and develop agriculture, among other things. On completion, all corresponding in-orbit operations will be carried out jointly by ISRO and MRIC, using MRIC's ground station.

India was not randomly chosen as the technical partner of that project. Several years ago, it signed technological cooperation agreements with four African countries, including Mauritius. The country is committed to providing substantial support for the scientific and technological development of these countries.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mardi, 07 novembre 2023 12:34 Written by

Over the past few years, African governments have multiplied initiatives to combat insecurity. The integration of digital technology is likely to bolster those initiatives. 

On Wednesday, November 1, the Ugandan government launched its Intelligent Transport Monitoring System (ITMS), known as digital license plates. The system aims to integrate digital tracking chips into all car license plates registered in the country.

"The Intelligent Transport Monitoring System, which will work in conjunction with a network of cameras and sensors, is designed to monitor traffic flow, identify and track vehicles, and detect incidents in real-time. This collective effort aims to make our roads safer for everyone," said Minister of Security Jim Muhwezi.

The said project is the result of a 10-year agreement signed in 2021, between the country's government and Russian company Global Security JSC. Under the agreement, the Russian company will provide a system that involves fitting Global Position Tracking (GPS) chips in vehicles at the owners’ expense.

The project is being piloted by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the Ministry of Security. The first phase aims to equip all government vehicles with these chips. The second phase, scheduled to start on February 1, 2024, will cover all other vehicles and motorcycles.

Through this project, the government aims to considerably reduce insecurity in the country. To this end, integrated plates with a security chip will be synchronized at the time of registration, with a security device capable of indicating the vehicle's location in real time. The project will also create various employment opportunities, with ongoing training initiatives in Uganda.

Samira Njoya

Posted On vendredi, 03 novembre 2023 17:46 Written by

In contrast to Rwanda, Nigeria and Kenya currently lack a national AI strategy. Nonetheless, the three countries were invited to an international meeting aimed at a framework to oversee this transformative technology.

On Wednesday, November 1, at the AI Safety Summit in London, England, Nigeria, Kenya, and Rwanda signed the Bletchley Declaration, a global convention on AI-related risks. The aim is to collectively understand and manage the risks of this technology and to ensure that it is developed and deployed safely and responsibly.

"We must acknowledge that our world is experiencing significant transformation driven by the increased application of digital technologies.  [...] AI at its very core offers our generation a historical opportunity to create ubiquitous access to insights and intelligence for global development. However, we must remain conscious of the need to ensure the safe ethical, and inclusive development of this phenomenon," said Bosun Tijani, Nigeria's Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy.

Since the advent of ChatGPT, an AI-based conversational agent developed by Californian technology firm OpenAI, solutions using this technology have proliferated around the world. Firms such as Google, Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon have also positioned themselves in this segment, and have stepped up their investments. They have signed several partnerships with AI companies to accelerate the development of their in-house technology or invest in promising solutions. However, authorities at various levels are growing concerned about the dimension of AI technology. 

Last week, the United Nations decided to set up an advisory committee on AI. "AI could power extraordinary progress for humanity.[...] AI could scale up and amplify the work of Governments, civil society, and the United Nations across the board. [...] But all this depends on AI technologies being harnessed responsibly and made accessible to all — including the developing countries that need them most,” said Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, who attended the second day of the AI Safety Summit in London, yesterday.  

The United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and China are among the signatories of the Bletchley Declaration.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On vendredi, 03 novembre 2023 17:13 Written by

The 2Africa cable, spanning 45,000 kilometers, is poised to connect 33 countries across three continents, enhancing connectivity for more than three billion individuals.

The 2Africa subsea cable from the eponymous consortium led by the American company Meta has landed off the coast of Dakar in Senegal. Its installation began on Tuesday, October 31, with the arrival of a cable ship from Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), a Nokia subsidiary entrusted with the construction of the cable. ASN will carry out the installation works in collaboration with Sonatel, the telecommunications firm overseeing the construction of 2Africa's landing station in Senegal.

"We are in the digital age. Therefore, we anticipate a more than double surge in 4G traffic in the next five years, alongside the emergence of 5G, which will further catalyze an exponential spike in usage. Therefore, it is imperative to equip Senegal adequately to meet the escalating demands from our customers," said Sékou Dramé, CEO of Sonatel.

The introduction of the 2Africa cable reinforces Senegal's domestic broadband infrastructure. Presently, the nation is linked to four international fiber optic submarine cables, namely SAT-3 (South Atlantic 3), ACE (Africa Coast to Europe), ATLANTIS-2, and SHARE (Senegal Horn of Africa Regional Express). Nonetheless, recurrent outages across these networks are causing disruptions to internet services across the country and in neighboring regions.

In early August, cuts to the ACE, WACS, and SAT-3 cables resulted in internet outages and slowed connectivity, for weeks, in several African countries, including Senegal.

The connection to a new cable will improve connectivity, offering better business opportunities, enhancing investment competitiveness, and stimulating growth by accelerating progress in several sectors, notably education and health. Senegal has 19.2 million Internet subscribers, representing a 108.31% penetration rate, according to the latest statistics from the  Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Post (ARTP).

Samira Njoya

Posted On jeudi, 02 novembre 2023 13:28 Written by

Digital Realty aims to position itself as one of the most important data providers on the African continent. To achieve this, management is making strategic decisions.

Medallion Data Centres, a Nigerian data center provider, has been renamed Digital Realty, after its parent company. The name was officialized at a ceremony held in Lagos on Friday, October 27.

"We have made a strategic decision to align with Digital Reality and we are proud to be part of one of America’s largest Public Companies. For over a decade, we have been at the forefront of the Nigerian digital economy through the provisioning of carrier-neutral data center services in both Lagos and Abuja," said Ikechukwu Nnamani (photo, center), founder of Medallion Data Centres.

The Nigerian data center provider entered Digital Realty’s portfolio in 2021.  At the time, the American firm, which owns over 300 facilities in more than 50 cities worldwide, decided to finance the Nigerian firm’s expansion on the continent with a $500 million package. Before this name change, Medallion Data Centres inaugurated a new data center in the city of Lagos on October 24 to expand its capacities.

"We are going to take advantage of the huge opportunity to both meet growing customer demand for connectivity in Africa and improve the internet infrastructure that serves over one billion people who don’t yet have proper access to the benefits of the Internet," said Mike Hollands (photo, right), Digital Realty's Vice President for Market Development.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On mardi, 31 octobre 2023 16:43 Written by

In 2019, Raxio committed to building ten to twelve data centers in Africa. The company is growing rapidly and continues its expansion on the continent.

Raxio Data Centres, a Tier 3 data center provider focused on the African continent, announced on Wednesday, October 25, that it has secured $46 million in acuity funding from its existing shareholders Meridiam and Roha. The funds will be used to continue its expansion in African markets.

"This funding will help Raxio expand and consolidate its position as the provider with the widest geographic footprint of data centers in Africa at a time where demand for high-quality digital infrastructure in Africa continues to grow from both international and local businesses," said Brooks Washington, partner at Roha.

Various public and private players are injecting significant funds into the development of technological infrastructures on the continent. According to the International Telecommunication Union, Africa is home to less than 2% of the world's data centers, and the industry's global giants see this as an opportunity and are investing in several countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya.

Earlier in the year, Raxio secured a $170 million loan from the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) and Proparco, the private sector financing arm of French development agency AFD, to accelerate its growth in Africa. The company is present in Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Tanzania.

Robert Mullins, President and CEO of Raxio Data Centres, explains that "this capital injection will allow Raxio to continue to expand its presence across the continent and to deliver the resilient mission-critical environments" Radio clients demand.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On vendredi, 27 octobre 2023 14:19 Written by

Leading global companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Oracle, have shown their commitment to investing in the establishment of data centers across Africa. Simultaneously, local businesses are also actively positioning themselves within the market.

On Tuesday, October 24, Medallion Data Centres, a Nigerian data center operator, launched a new data center in Lagos. Named LOS2 Data Centre, it replaces LOS1, which has reached its maximum capacity but can now accommodate more data. LOS2 has a computing capacity of one megawatt (MW).

"The new Tier 111 Data Centre will help us to extend the current peering and connectivity process we had in LOS1, our first data center facility in Lagos that has reached its full rack capacity. We decided to build a second Data Center facility to accommodate more customers’ data," says Ikechukwu Nnamani, CEO of Medallion Data Centres.

Data center providers in Africa are increasing their investments in the sector due to growing demand on the continent. Digital Realty, the parent company of Medallion Data Centres, is part of this dynamic and aims to become a major player in the sector in Africa since acquiring Medallion in 2021. The firm has pledged to invest $500 million over ten years to accelerate the continent's digital economy.

"It is exciting now that we can build and expand on the LOS1 Data Centre facility and ready for our customers to continue to grow and expand their business and to also help make the internet infrastructure in Nigeria stronger and better," said Mike Collins, Vice President of Market Development at Digital Realty Group.

Adoni Conrad Quenum

Posted On vendredi, 27 octobre 2023 12:44 Written by

Africa continues to be the region where health issues hold paramount importance. However, with the progress of technology, the continent may witness a shift in the right direction if the right policies are implemented. 

The Mobile World Congress Kigali 2023, held from October 17 to 19, enabled guests and participants to discover the latest mobile telecommunications technologies and discuss the future of mobile in Africa. It was also an opportunity to set up initiatives such as the African Digital Health Network (ADHN), launched on the sidelines of the congress.

The new network will serve as an umbrella organization and a marketplace connecting digital health buyers and sellers.

"We hope to build a network that will bring all innovations and unite digital health stakeholders across the continent. We are going to form a kind of marketplace where buyers and sellers in digital health meet. And we hope to build a technology platform to help do all that," said Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Senior Technology Advisor at the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the project's designers, the network will be a not-for-profit organization, but there are plans to “onboard investments and governments” to ensure its implementation, which will be primarily focused on improving the digital health market. At the launch, 150 members from 43 countries signed up at individual and institutional levels.

The launch of the African Digital Health Network comes at a time when the development of e-health is high on the agenda of African governments. In Senegal, for example, the executive secured nearly $50 million from the World Bank in June to digitize its healthcare system.

In Kenya, by 2030, the widespread adoption of selected digital tools could reduce healthcare spending by between $400 million and $2.5 billion, according to consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Hence, establishing a network is imperative to consolidate the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders, ensuring a promising future for healthcare in Africa through the integration of new technologies. 

According to Brian O'Connor, Chairman of the global community ECHAlliance, the network will also highlight Africa's digital healthcare innovations and offer access to global partners through a centralized platform.

Samira Njoya

Posted On mardi, 24 octobre 2023 17:13 Written by
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