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The African Data Center Gold Rush: African Colocation Markets & Models in the Age of the Cloud

  • Report

  • 142 Pages
  • August 2020
  • Region: Africa
  • Xalam Analytics
  • ID: 5146309

The African cloud has arrived. While the cloud services sector is in its early stages of development, the impact of cloud services is already far-reaching. African banks are making investments in machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to improve the customer experience and credit risk; new “digital banks” are emerging, that are, at least in part, cloud-based. Governments are using cloud and virtualized infrastructure to enhance public service delivery. Large retail firms are using compute capabilities and AWS databases to transform how they reach a predominantly mobile and digital customer base. And scores of African cloud-native startups are leveraging the cloud to disrupt entire industry sectors.

The African cloud may be small, but it is already here indeed, and it is growing fast. For African markets, cloud, virtualization, and the broader evolution towards serverless computing are the most disruptive technological developments since the advent of the mobile payment revolution. Few other segments in the African ICT space are as likely to generate an incremental $2bn in top-line revenue over the next five years, and at least as much in adjacent enabling ecosystem revenue.

This report is about the near term economic, commercial and investor value opportunity offered by the rise of the African cloud. Building on the established analysis of African enterprise and digital infrastructure markets, 18 months of research, and 100+ interviews and conversations, The Rise of the African Cloud explores the readiness of African markets for thriving private and public cloud services; it analyzes cloud demand and use case patterns, at the segment level, from financial services to the public sector and startups; it estimates and projects cloud services market size; it details the competitive strengths of global hyper-scale cloud providers and how their battle is translating in the African context; it outlines the impact of cloud services on Africa’s managed service provider ecosystem and telcos’ evolving enterprise businesses; and it breaks down the investment case within the African cloud value chain, from enterprise connectivity to data centers and SaaS.

This report does not pretend to have all the answers. But it does pretend to offer, at long last, the most comprehensive picture available on African cloud services markets.

The most comprehensive research to date on the data center colocation market in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), leveraging months of research and interviews, extensive data collection, and new analytical tools for data center analysis and geo-mapping. The report provides an unprecedented view into the dynamics underpinning the SSA data center market - from the expansion of global cloud and CDN providers to the COVID-19-boosted transformation of enterprise IT architectures. The market is evolving, from a smattering of small, substandard facilities to what is now, in effect, one of the fastest-growing colo markets in the world, and the fourth enabling infrastructure pillar of Africa’s digital transformation.

This report includes a report in PDF format, chart data in Excel, and a 20-slide executive Synopsis (PDF).

Table of Contents

1.1 Breaking Down the African Multi-Tenant Data Center
  • Tracking African MTDC facilities (1)
  • An acceleration in new data center construction
  • African DCs are getting more powerful
  • African data center facilities - a summary map

1.2 State of the Colo Enablers: Connectivity, Power and Data Sovereignty
  • Connectivity - Solid growth, and a COVID-19 wake-up call
  • Wholesale fiber - Excellent international depth, terrestrial a bottleneck in spots
  • Power - African power supply is still constrained

1.3 The State of SSA Colo Supply
  • A snapshot view of SSA available data center colocation capacity
  • African colo growth: racing towards digital equilibrium
  • African colo snapshot charts
  • SSA colocation - best viewed as three different markets
  • SSA Colocation: the KNG and the Rest of Africa
  • Africa’s Top colo 10 Markets: From South Africa to Tanzania
  • Johannesburg and Cape Town still the largest metros - but others are rising

1.4 State of the Providers: The Rise of Colo Specialists
  • SSA colo: the rise of specialists
  • A highly varied market structure
  • SSA’s top 15 colo providers - from Teraco to PAIX
  • The leaders: Teraco and Africa Data Centres
  • The challengers: from Dimension Data to MDX-i and iColo
  • The next wave: from Raxio to IXAfrica
  • The next wave: ongoing projects

  • A summary view of the demand for African data center colocation
  • Hyperscale cloud demand - the hunt for low latency intensifies
  • The hyper-scale in Africa - a summary view
  • Who is next? GCP, Alibaba
  • Where the hyper-scale go next: Filling the West Africa gap
  • CDN and Internet content providers - Need to move further north of the Limpopo
  • Enterprise demand - a complicated path to colocation
  • Enterprise case study - Finding stability in colocation - the Stanbic IBTC Nigeria case
  • Enterprise demand - Finding opportunities in power, COVID-19-induced crises

3.1 Will African markets (and SA in particular) be oversupplied?
  • Assessing the SSA oversupply risk
  • South Africa oversupply risk - it depends on your preferred benchmark
  • Other SSA markets: considerably under-supplied
  • SSA colo demand analysis - Sample charts
  • Growing utilization - and a top-heavy market
  • Our verdict: not oversupplied quite yet - but the cloud tide will not lift all the boats
  • The oversupply case: key charts

3.2 What is the case for the African edge, and for secondary city data centers?
  • Getting to the edge of the edge - and fixing Africa’s cloud divide
  • Africa’s edge computing - a solution in search of a problem, and the case for leveraging cell towers

3.3 Is there a credible data center opportunity outside of South Africa and the KNG markets?
  • Africa’s next data center wave: current supply belies potential
  • The case for Africa’s next data center wave
  • Country summary attractiveness analysis: few markets make the cut
  • Identifying the next wave: retail demand vs. wholesale demand
  • Africa’s next wave: From Uganda and DRC to Tanzania

3.4 Our Africa colo market outlook: winning in a COVID-19 world
  • African colo growth has hit an inflection point
  • SSA colo outlook: A rare winner in Africa’s pandemic-boosted digital world
  • SSA colo outlook: double-digit growth as demand rushes to data center safety
  • SSA colo outlook: summary Charts

3.5 Sample Africa colo business model questions: pricing, CapEx and pan-African platforms
  • SSA colocation: on pricing and MRR
  • SSA colocation: on data center CapEx
  • The increasingly pivotal African colo provider: From space + power to pan-African platforms
  • African colo positioning: still evolving towards the pan-African data center platform
  • 3.6 Can African colocation grow on diesel - or renewables?
  • Power - Adapting to a challenging power environment
  • The path out of diesel: from self-generation to renewables

4.1 South Africa
  • South Africa Market Snapshot
  • South Africa in context: a summary view
  • The South Africa colocation case
  • South Africa DC Mapping and IXPs
  • The South Africa colocation case - a summary view
  • SA power - Making the most out of an electricity crisis
  • SA power: over the long run, a potentially strong positive for colo
  • A remarkable colo performance
  • South African demand assessment
  • Breaking down demand for South African data center colocation (bottom-up analysis)
  • South Africa data center competition - market structure
  • South Africa data center - an increasingly top-end market
  • South Africa market outlook: thriving amidst the gloom
  • South Africa market outlook
  • South Africa outlook: more growth ahead, despite (or thanks to) a terrible operating environment

4.2 Kenya
  • Kenya Market Snapshot
  • Kenya in context: a summary view
  • The Kenya colocation case
  • Kenya DC Mapping and IXPs
  • The Kenya colocation case - a summary view
  • Kenya: the colo specialists have taken over
  • Does Kenya have enough colo capacity?
  • Kenya demand for data center colocation - a summary assessment
  • Kenya data center competition - market structure
  • Kenya data center competition - market structure
  • Kenya market outlook: only SA will do better
  • Kenya market outlook
  • Kenya market outlook: only going up

4.3 Nigeria
  • Nigeria Market Snapshot
  • Nigeria in context: a summary view
  • The Nigeria colocation case
  • Nigeria DC Mapping and IXPs
  • The Nigeria colocation case - a summary view
  • Nigeria: still an “emerging” colo market
  • The Nigeria demand challenge - Can COVID-19 change the Nigerian narrative?
  • The Nigeria demand challenge
  • Breaking down demand for Nigerian data center colocation (bottom-up analysis)
  • Nigeria data center competition - market structure
  • Nigeria market outlook
  • Nigeria market outlook: only going up

4.4 Ghana
  • Ghana Market Snapshot
  • Ghana in context: a summary view
  • The Ghana colocation case
  • Ghana DC Mapping and IXPs
  • The Ghana colocation case - a summary view
  • Ghana: the colo specialists have taken over
  • Does Ghana have enough colo demand?
  • Ghana data center competition - market structure
  • Ghana market outlook
  • Ghana market outlook: only going up

Companies Mentioned

  • 21st Century Technologies
  • Africa Data Centres
  • Akamai
  • Amazon Web Services
  • BCX
  • CloudExchange Nigeria
  • Djibouti Data Center
  • Google/GCP
  • Huawei
  • iColo
  • IS/Dimension Data
  • IXAfrica
  • Liquid Telecom
  • MainOne/MDX-i
  • Medallion Communications
  • Microsoft
  • MTN Business
  • Ngoya Etix
  • NSIA Technologies
  • Orange Business
  • PAIX
  • Rack Africa
  • Rack Centre
  • Raxio
  • Safaricom
  • Telkom Kenya
  • Teraco
  • Vodacom Business
  • Xneelo