IXAfrica announces Sh6.1bn investment for Nairobi data centre

Keen to expand its hyperscale data project, offer faster internet.

In Summary

•The growth capital investment is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to customary closing conditions.

•Upon full build-out of the Nairobi campus, it seeks to establish a leading position in the country, delivering over 20MW of hyperscale-ready data capacity.

IXAfrica has gotten a major boost on its hyperscale data centre project in Kenya with the $50 million (Sh6.1 billion) capital injection from Africa-focused private investment firm-Helios Investment Partners.

XAfrica Data Centre Limited is the leading developer and operator of hyperscale-ready data centres in East Africa.

Helios’ intends to pump the funds into the tech focused firm to accelerate the development of IXAfrica’s Nairobi campus, a project that holds a future to faster internet.

It could also see millions of websites hosted outside the county migrate back to Kenya.

The investment is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to customary closing conditions including Kenyan regulatory approval.

IXAfrica was established in Kenya in 2021, with a leadership team featuring pedigree from international data centre operators, local connectivity and power and engineering capabilities.

Prompted by soaring demand for Kenyan internet connectivity from a young and fast-growing population, IXAfrica secured a 17,300 square metre plot alongside the Mombasa Road in Nairobi.

The location provides easy access to all existing primary internet connectivity infrastructure.

Upon full build-out of the Nairobi campus, the company will establish a leading position in Kenya, delivering over 20MW of much-needed, hyperscale-ready capacity to the market, managment notes.

Kenya is known to be a hypercloud-ready region with advanced cloud adoption propensities, a digitally savvy ecosystem, access to diverse internet fibre connectivity, high-availability and low-carbon sources of power.

It also has a stable regulatory and political environment, industry players say.

"This strategic partnership between IXAfrica and Helios will further enhance the company’s ambitious growth plans and provide a foundation for potential regional expansion," IXAfrica said in a statement.

The company will directly benefit from Helios’ 18-year record of building fast-growing, multi-country, digital infrastructure platforms, which have had a huge impact in Africa.

IXAfrica is focused on providing high-quality data centre environments able to serve both the international and local internet markets.

It provides high-specification data centre infrastructure, capable of hosting the world’s most demanding companies in the internet, banking, retail, media and other enterprise sectors.

Customers can build complex compute platforms in a secure and reliable environment, whilst freeing them up to focus on their core businesses.

IXAfrica customers form an ecosystem where data can be exchanged at almost zero latency, and internet content can be delivered to all users due to the multitude of telecom and data networks present.

Following IXAfrica's alliance with the London Internet Exchange (LINX), its customers and partners will have access to almost 1,000 networks globally, putting Nairobi on the map as a major regional internet hub.

“This strategic investment will fast track the development of our cloud ready campus as the digital transformation hub of East Africa,"IXAfrica  executive chairman Guy Willner said.

The Communication Authority of Kenya has been advocating for Internet service providers (ISPs) to bring websites hosted offshore back to the country.

This is to among others, fight cyber crime.

The US is the leading web hosting country in the world, home to about 42 per cent of the top million sites among them AmazonWebServices, Rackspace and Google Cloud Platform.

Others are Germany, China, United Kingdom, Russia, France, Japan, Brazil, Italy and Spain.

Helios  managing partner and co-founder Tope Lawani has since described XAfrica's initiative as a attractive and dynamic internet ecosystem in Kenya.

"..this serves to enhance the fundamental factors that make IXAfrica an exciting investment opportunity for us as we continue to develop our digital infrastructure franchise,"Lawani  said.

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