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Schneider Electric and IXAfrica launch East Africa’s largest hypercloud data center, ‘NBOX1’, with cutting-edge tech and sustainable design. (Image source: IXAfrica)

Internet

Schneider Electric, a leader in digital transformation for energy management and automation, has joined forces with Nairobi-based IXAfrica Data Centres to unveil East Africa’s largest and first hypercloud data centre

Known as ‘NBOX1,’ this Tier 3+ facility is now operational and offers a carrier-neutral, AI-ready environment. It stands as the most advanced digital infrastructure in East Africa for cloud, colocation, and connectivity, designed to attract hyperscale and internet customers with a user experience on par with North America and Western Europe.

Future-ready data centre

The NBOX1 launch is supported by Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for Data Centres architecture, ensuring maximum resilience, uptime, cost efficiency, enhanced security, and alignment with IXAfrica’s sustainability goals.

The new data centre, backed by a US$50mn investment from leading firm Helios, is situated in Africa’s burgeoning technology hub, the ‘Digital Savannah,’ serving over 300 million people and fostering innovation with its skilled workforce and diverse services.

Snehar Shah, CEO of IXAfrica, remarked, “Kenya is 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. This all sits within a country offering a stable regulatory and political environment, and a strong economy forecast to grow 5.2% in 2024.”

To meet the critical requirement for dependable IT operations, IXAfrica selected Schneider Electric for their power train solution, including power protection and distribution equipment, transformers, MV and LV switchgear, and a basic BMS for monitoring. Schneider Electric collaborated with local consultants Prisma Techniques and ensured compliance with IEC standards and local grid requirements, considering Kenya’s unique environmental conditions.

Ifeanyi Odoh, Schneider Electric country president in East Africa, stated, “The solutions provided by Schneider Electric are engineered to support N+1 redundancy with four independent power trains, meeting IXAfrica’s immediate and long-term objectives, including design 1.25 PUE across the campus, as well as a 99.999% uptime guarantee.”

With renewable energy sources introducing variability, the integration of lithium-ion batteries with the Galaxy VX UPS addresses challenges associated with supply stability.

Designed as a ‘Data Centre of the Future,’ NBOX1 benefits from Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for Data Centres, which enhances performance, resilience, and resource efficiency while supporting IXAfrica’s sustainability goals through energy savings and reduced CO2 emissions.

Mouna Essa Egh, secure power vice-president for Middle East & Africa, commented, “We believe that sustainable practices are essential for the future of data centres, and we are proud to partner with organizations like IXAfrica to create environmentally conscious and innovative digital habitats for the evolving technological landscape.”

“We have a very strategic relationship with Schneider Electric – in fact, our new Nairobi campus site is built on land formerly part of Schneider’s complex, and the power engineering for the site was designed by Schneider’s local partners. NBOX1 is sustainable by design, and our goal is to ‘Keep it Africa’ - our switchgear and panelware were all manufactured by Schneider Electric on our own doorstep,” shah added. 

“We’re delighted to partner with Schneider Electric, a company that not only shares our ethos and passion for the environment but is also committed to ensuring that IXAfrica and its clients meet their operational and sustainability goals,” shah concluded.

Telecom Namibia partners with ZTE and Huafull to modernise and expand its mobile network, enhancing 4G, 4.5G, and 5G coverage, especially in underserved areas. (Image source: Telecom Namibia)

Mobile

Telecom Namibia has unveiled a transformative three-year partnership with a joint venture between ZTE Corporation and Huafull International Limited

Recognised as a global leader in mobile technology solutions, ZTE's collaboration with Telecom Namibia marks a significant advancement in enhancing the country's mobile network capabilities and coverage.

Mobile network expansion

Aligned with Telecom Namibia’s five-year Integrated Strategic Business Plan (ISBP) 2027, this initiative includes investing in the modernisation and expansion of the TN mobile network. This will involve rolling out new mobile base stations and upgrading existing ones nationwide. According to the agreement, Telecom Namibia will procure state-of-the-art mobile radio access equipment from the ZTE Corporation and Huafull International Limited Joint Venture. This procurement aims to strengthen the mobile network's capacity and coverage, particularly in previously underserved areas. The partnership will support the deployment of advanced mobile radio access technologies such as 4G, 4.5G, and 5G, ensuring TN mobile consumers receive high-quality, fast, and reliable mobile broadband services.

During the signing ceremony, Telecom Namibia's CEO, Dr Stanley Shanapinda, highlighted, “As a committed provider of reliable and high-speed mobile services nationwide, we are excited to join forces with ZTE and Huafull to bring transformative solutions to our customers. This collaboration underscores our dedication to delivering unparalleled mobile connectivity and bridging the digital divide in communities across our country.”

The integration of ZTE’s cutting-edge equipment into Telecom Namibia’s network will facilitate the deployment of next-generation technologies, providing users with faster data speeds and enhanced reliability. Moreover, expanding coverage through the deployment of new sites will ensure seamless connectivity. By leveraging the expertise and innovation of ZTE and Huafull, Telecom Namibia aims to accelerate the growth of its mobile network footprint and offer improved services to both urban and rural areas across the country.

Jack Liu, vice-president of Huafull International, expressed, “We are very honored and grateful to Telecom Namibia for choosing and collaborating with ZTE Corporation and Huafull International as partners for the next phase of wireless network upgrade and transformation.”

Gamze Aydin, senior vice-president of sales and South Africa country manager at Avanti. (Image source: Avanti Communications)

Satellite

Avanti Communications, a leading global multi-orbit provider of fully integrated connectivity services and solutions, has successfully conducted a satellite connectivity test with BankservAfrica, Africa’s largest automated clearing house, and Capitec Bank, one of South Africa’s top retail banks

The successful completion of this connectivity test marks a significant step towards enhancing transactional security. It highlights the transformative potential of satellite communications in bolstering digital banking systems, paving the way for more resilient financial operations, reflective of a digitally mature and inclusive banking future.

Satellite connectivity test key findings:

Stable connectivity: The satellite connection demonstrated durability with consistent stability, a crucial factor in ensuring financial transactions are carried out without interruption on Avanti’s GEO Ka HTS satellite.

Mission critical application: Financial traffic was routed solely on the Avanti satellite link, showcasing Avanti’s link capability in handling mission-critical applications during the loss of terrestrial links or unstable connectivity caused by fibre cuts or power issues.

Effective production testing: High transaction volumes were efficiently managed during intensive production testing, underscoring the robustness of the satellite link.

Gamze Aydin, senior vice-president of sales and South Africa country manager at Avanti, commented, “With South Africa’s financial institutions facing the threats of power grid instabilities and undersea cable malfunctions, this test is a forerunner of strengthened operational resilience. By enabling direct satellite connection to European traffic hubs, Avanti’s solution reduces reliance on local infrastructure, which is prone to disruption. These tests not only validate the role of satellite technology as a steadfast, secure conduit for financial transactions but underscore its importance in maintaining operations in challenging conditions.”

The collaboration with BankservAfrica and Capitec represents a significant advancement in technological application.

“We participated in the connectivity test to determine the viability of using Satellite for additional resilience in the financial industry. The test was successful across all the critical measurement points. BankservAfrica is pleased to consider the inclusion of this technology across our Managed Network Solution,” added Ben Janse van Rensburg, chief technology officer at BankservAfrica.

This initiative is a major step towards reinforcing the resilience of financial services across Africa. The successful completion of the test is an important milestone, demonstrating the viability of satellite communication in maintaining stable and reliable transaction environments.

PalmPay was recognised in CNBC/Statista's "Top 250 Fintech Companies in the World" list, highlighting its role in advancing financial inclusion in Africa. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Commerce

PalmPay, a prominent Africa-focused fintech platform, has been named in the 2024 edition of CNBC and Statista’s esteemed “Top 250 Fintech Companies in the World” list

This accolade highlights PalmPay's swift growth and notable efforts in promoting financial inclusion.

Celebrating fintech excellence

The CNBC/Statista list celebrates fintech innovators who are significantly transforming the financial services sector through technology. Over 2,000 companies were assessed globally using general and sector-specific KPIs to finalise the selection. The 2024 list features some of the world's most influential fintech firms, such as Alipay, Nubank, Monzo, and Revolut. Six other African companies also made the list.

Since its inception in 2019, PalmPay has created an integrated platform serving both consumers and businesses in the African market. The startup introduced a distinctive model in Nigeria, offering financial services like money transfers, bill payments, credit services, and savings through a comprehensive fintech ‘superapp’ and mobile money agents.

This combined approach of user-friendly digital banking and offline touchpoints for those without smartphones has significantly contributed to financial inclusion in a market where over 40% of adults remain unbanked.

In 2023, PalmPay celebrated reaching 30 million registered users on its smartphone apps and connecting with 1.1 million businesses through its network of mobile money agents and retail merchants. Notably, a third of PalmPay’s customers reported that the platform was their first financial account.

PalmPay's rapid rise to market leadership in Nigeria is attributed to its intuitive interface, dependable transactions, and strategy of growing market share through fee-free transfers and promotions. The platform processes 15 million transactions daily on its consumer app, maintaining a 99.5% transaction success rate.

To achieve this scale in a market where a 10% transaction failure rate was common, PalmPay developed robust payment infrastructure, channel integrations, and transaction routing systems. Beyond its consumer wallet, PalmPay provides business services through its suite of POS machines, APIs, and checkout solutions.

"It’s an honour for PalmPay to be recognised by CNBC and Statista as one of the world’s top fintech companies," said Sofia Zab, global chief marketing officer, "This recognition validates our unique approach to financial services and our commitment to driving financial inclusion. We are actively expanding PalmPay’s reach and offerings, ensuring more people have access to essential financial services and promoting economic development in emerging markets"

PalmPay operates in several key markets across Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania, with plans to expand further in the region and other emerging markets. The company has global HQs in China and London.

Africa Data Centres & DPA SA pioneer solar farm for sustainable data solutions in South Africa. (Image source: African Data Centres)

Power

Africa Data Centres, a division of the Cassava Technologies group, has announced the commencement of construction for a solar farm in the Free State in partnership with DPA Southern Africa 

VOX Solutions partners with Orange Burkina Faso to combat messaging fraud and artificial traffic inflation through secure A2P message transmission and the VOX-3. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Security

VOX Solutions, a leader in comprehensive A2P voice and messaging monetisation solutions, has announced partnership with Orange, the largest mobile operator in Burkina Faso to combat messaging fraud and artificial traffic inflation through secure A2P message transmission and the VOX-360 platform

This partnership between VOX Solutions and Orange Burkina Faso establishes an exclusive direct connectivity alliance, ensuring the secure and reliable transmission of A2P messages to clients in Burkina Faso and international enterprises. The shared goal is to protect mobile interactions from the rising threats of messaging fraud and artificial traffic inflation (AIT).

Artificial traffic inflation (AIT) is a growing issue in the digital landscape, artificially increasing traffic volumes, thus raising costs for enterprises and threatening revenues for mobile network operators. Likewise, messaging fraud, which involves the unauthorised or deceptive dissemination of messages, poses significant risks to user privacy and security.

Ehsan Ahmadi, CEO & founder of VOX Solutions, expressed, “Our fundamental mission is to support mobile operators such as Orange Burkina Faso in sustaining consistent revenue growth and fostering innovation. Addressing messaging fraud and AIT are central to the challenges we are eager to confront. We are privileged to commence this journey and remain steadfast in aiding our partners in achieving their business goals. This collaboration represents a significant step toward improved communication experiences and lasting success.”

The VOX-360 platform is distinguished as a comprehensive and unique solution in the market, incorporating anti-fraud functionalities, flash call authentication, A2P SMS monetization, and mobile identity capabilities. This platform enables mobile operators to detect and prevent spam and fraudulent traffic, proactively protecting end-users and enhancing the overall customer experience. Additionally, it equips operators with the tools to optimize their network monetization efforts.

As a result of this partnership, customers of Orange Burkina Faso and its global partners can expect secure and reliable A2P message delivery. Moreover, Orange will enhance its ability to monitor all A2P SMS traffic, including one-time passwords and customer notifications.

Successfully implementing VOX-360 in the networks of numerous prominent mobile operators globally, VOX Solutions remains committed to driving transformation and innovation in mobile communications. This collaboration reinforces VOX Solutions’ commitment to providing telecom operators and enterprises with high-quality strategies, advanced technology, essential data, educational resources, and skilled professionals. This significant development further strengthens their unwavering efforts in combating fraudulent traffic.

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