[Africa Tech Week] Demand for data centres continues to grow
Cloud infrastructure and data centres are purported to penetrate many growing African markets in 2018. The need for these data centres continues to grow exponentially with a report from Statista indicating that an estimated $188 is going towards data centres systems. Many global companies are looking to Africa for data centre development and support.
According to Jonathan Vanian of Fortune, “The decision to open a data center facility highlights the growing economic development in Africa, which has caught the attention of big tech companies looking to capitalize,” This week, Safaricom received Tier III Design Certification from Uptime Institute for its Thika Data Center, thus joining elite data centres in the world to be certified by the leading Data Center Authority. This is a clear indication of how data centres will continue to grow in the country and even across other African countries. Remember in 2017 Microsoft also revealed plans to deliver the complete, intelligent Microsoft Cloud for the first time from data centres located in Africa. Back in 2014, IBM also held a seminar in Accra for businesses to utilise Prefabricated Modular Data Centres (PMDC) to enable them quickly and efficiently deploy and relocate data centres to support their operations.
This week, MTN Uganda also partnered with Mastercard and United Bank for Africa (UBA) tolaunch a virtual card that will enable quicker, safer and more convenient global online payments. Known as MTN MoMo, customers will be able to use the card to shop or make payments at the vast network of global outlets accepting Mastercard payments. This was not the first time we were hearing of new partnerships coming from MTN Uganda. In a previous article published here, we highlighted how the company partnered with TIDAL to unveil music and video streaming platform in Uganda. A while back, the company also partnered with CBA to launch a mobile phone based savings and loans service.
Several African startups this week also announced new plans to expand their operations while some were also shortlisted for different awards. Kenyan Startup Lori Systemsexpanded its operations to Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) alsonamed the top 10 startups that will compete for its prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2018 awards. We have been covering the awards since they were launched and also listed for the 2013 finalists, and even in 2014 when the award announced USD 150,000 Prize for Innovative African Solutions to African Challenges. We have also told you how some of the winners are using their solutions to solve some of Africa’s pressing challenges. Still, on Startups, Ushahidi, a crisis management software development firm based out of Nairobi has launched a messaging app running on SMS.
This week also saw a few organisations announce that they’re starting their operations in Kenya. The African Leadership University (ALU) and the Meltwater School of Entrepreneurial Technology (MEST) launched their operations in the country in partnership with the Nairobi Garage. This comes a year after ALU partnered with GE Africa to launch of the ALU Africa Industrial Internet Program. In 2016, Fred Swaniker, founder of ALU also announced the launch of ALU School of Business. In the same, the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate Universityannounced a partnership with the university to provide ALU’s MBA students with a series of online management courses.
In Tanzania this week, TIGO heightened the availability of ultra-fast digital experience for data customers in the country with the launch of 4G+ network. The operator has from last year been working to modernize its network infrastructure. Recently, it also received the GSMA Mobile Money Certification, recognizing Tigo’s ability to deliver safe, transparent, reliable and more resilient services that promote consumer rights and prevent malicious transactions.
Moneytrans and Remitly, the largest independent digital remittance company in North America,this week entered into a global co-operation agreement. This agreement will extend Remitly's modern and convenient remittance experience to Africa. Alibaba Cloud, the cloud-computing arm of Alibaba Group, and Kenya's Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife also agreed to explore a strategic collaboration to deploy Alibaba Cloud’s technology to support the Kenya Wildlife Protection Project. This week, ESET East Africa was also voted the Cyber Security Company of the year at the 2018 Digital Inclusion Awards (DIA).
On the other hand, Ethiopian Airlines, the largest aviation group in Africa and SkyTrax Four-Star Airline, partnered with CellPoint Mobile, a provider of sales and payment-side technology solutions for the worldwide travel sector, to accept payments via Alipay.