Construction to start at Africa Data Centres Cape facility

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 09 Nov 2022

Africa Data Centres, a subsidiary of the Cassava Technologies Group, a Pan-African technology group, is preparing to lay the groundwork for its second Cape Town-based data centre facility − a project the company says will drive job creation in the province.

This after it announced in June that it had secured land to build a new 20MW facility expected to cover 15 000 square metres in eight data halls – situated in Atlantic Hills, on the northern periphery of the Cape Town city centre.

The new Cape Town facility, known as CPT2, will be the carrier-neutral colocation data centre provider’s fourth data centre in SA, following the establishment of the Midrand (JHB1), Centurion (JHB2) and Elfindale, Cape Town (CPT1) regions.

Speaking to ITWeb on the side-lines of the AfricaCom 2022 event, hosted in Cape Town this week, Dr Angus Hay, regional executive at Africa Data Centres, estimated the Cape Town project alone to be worth in the region of hundreds of million rands.

The new facility is currently in the initial design phase, with groundwork set to start in the next few weeks, he said.

“We have acquired land for the [CPT2] facility and we're going to start construction in 2023. While we don’t have the exact dates, within 18 to 24 months, we would have established our Cape Town facility.

“As with all of our facilities, we start with a scalable approach from a capacity of 5MW and we gradually populate it. What's driving this expansion for us is the huge demand for our services from a range of customers, particularly the hyperscalers and financial services. We’ve had tremendous growth, especially with our JHB2 facility, where we have had a number of enterprise customers benefitting immensely from our colocation services.”

Africa Data Centres owns and operates Africa’s largest network of interconnected, carrier- and cloud-neutral data centre facilities.

The company forms part of fibre solutions provider Cassava Technologies Group, based across 14 countries, primarily in Eastern, Southern and South Africa, providing mobile operators, carriers, enterprise, media and content companies with high-speed connectivity solutions.

Last November, Africa Data Centres announced it had secured an investment of almost R4 billion to expand its two Johannesburg-based data centres from 30MW to 100MW of IT load. This is a microcosm of the company’s broader vision, which will see it build 10 hyperscale data centres across Africa, including in Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco and Egypt, by 2024.

“We are not disclosing figures on how much we have invested, but just to give you a sense of scale, the overall cost of a data centre is well into the hundreds of millions of rands. That’s the kind of investment we are talking about for an individual data centre.

“So that all adds up into the bigger figures that we’ve published before on the hundreds of million dollars we have secured in debt finance,” added Dr Hay.

According to Africa Data Centres, South Africa remains the largest data centre market on the continent, with a thriving data centre industry, and has been ranked number 25 globally by Cloudscene, based on data centre density.

“Cloud is the driver of the data centre market in South Africa and in the rest of the continent. The two big trends that we are seeing in the enterprise space is general colocation services, through cloud providers buying data centre space, and the second element is that data centres provide the necessary infrastructure to cloud providers,” concluded Dr Hay.