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Raxio's Tier III facility boosts Mozambique's digital economy, sets new standards in data infrastructure. (Image source: Raxio Group)

Raxio Data Centres, a leader in carrier-neutral data centre operations with an extensive presence in Africa, has officially inaugurated Raxio Mozambique (Raxio MZ1)

As the first Tier III Uptime Certified data centre in Mozambique, Raxio MZ1 is set to be instrumental in driving the nation’s digital economy forward and supporting the Government’s digital transformation goals. This launch is a significant addition to Raxio’s expanding network of data centres across Africa, establishing a pan-African digital infrastructure.

“We are proud to be opening Mozambique’s first Tier III, hyper-scale ready data centre and are excited to be a critical cornerstone in supporting the growth of the country’s evolving digital economy, helping to accelerate the adoption for digital tools and services across industries,” said Robert Mullins, CEO of Raxio Group. “The flagship Raxio MZ1 facility is a hub of connectivity and digital exchange, with eight of the country’s top telecom operators and connectivity providers already signed up. Delivering this exceptional facility is testament of our capabilities and of our commitment to provide our customers in Mozambique with the world-class infrastructure their businesses require.”

Strategically located in Beluluane Industrial Park (MozParks), near Maputo, Raxio MZ1 is designed to cater to both primary and disaster recovery needs. The location offers robust power and connectivity infrastructure, ensuring a stable operating environment. With Maputo’s proximity to three subsea cable landings, including the high-capacity 2Africa cable, the facility provides excellent international connectivity and serves as a critical redundant route for the Southern African region.

“With this launch, Mozambique is finally set to benefit from having its own world-class data centre facility and Raxio’s dedicated operational experience to support the country’s continued development in this digital age,” commented Emidio Amadebai, Raxio’s general manager in Mozambique. “Mozambique’s location positions Raxio MZ1 ideally to accommodate the needs of both local customers and those in the wider Southern African region.”

Raxio MZ1 features advanced cooling technology, high security standards, and AC/DC power compatibility, ensuring an “always-on” uptime environment. The facility offers customers the ability to cross-connect with local and international carriers and other customers in specialised meet-me rooms. By co-locating in Raxio’s facility, customers can benefit from a shared infrastructure model, reducing operational and capital costs while enhancing application performance and flexibility. Combined with investments in terrestrial infrastructure, Raxio Mozambique aims to improve internet traffic flow among content providers, attract regional and international service providers, and enhance the internet experience for users in Mozambique and the surrounding region.

Sustainability is a core principle for Raxio, with over 80% of Mozambique’s electricity sourced from renewables. Raxio MZ1 will utilise a combination of hydro-generated grid power and local solar supply, reflecting Raxio’s commitment to environmentally friendly practices. The facility's energy-efficient design and technologies are tailored to local climatic conditions, achieving exceptional Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) ratios.

Raxio’s expansion across Africa continues with strong momentum. After opening data centres in Uganda and Ethiopia, the Mozambique launch will be followed by new facilities in Côte d’Ivoire and DRC in Q3 2024, and Angola by the end of the year, bringing the total to six operational centres.

“2024 is a huge year for Raxio and in many ways the culmination of multi-year effort. Our unmatched capability is due to a unique combination of secure financing, in-house technical and project delivery expertise, and the ability to pull together contractors, building teams and so much more,” added Robert Mullins. “As we continue to deliver on our promise to build a network of interconnected data centres, running world-class infrastructure, across underserved markets in Africa, we are convinced that the continent has an important role to play in the deployment of global AI capabilities as these are rolled out. We are excited to be a part of this future.”

OADC achieves Tier-III design certification from Uptime Institute for its Isando facility, reinforcing its commitment to top-tier data centre. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Open Access Data Centres (OADC), Africa’s fastest-growing data centre company, has announced the achievement of Tier-III design certification from the internationally acclaimed Uptime Institute for its hyperscale core facility in Isando, Johannesburg

This milestone significantly advances the company's mission to sustainably establish and operate world-class, client-focused data centre facilities in South Africa and throughout the continent.

Dr Ayotunde Coker, CEO of OADC, remarked, "This certification reflects our dedication to meeting and exceeding international standards in data centre operations. It reaffirms our commitment to deliver the highest level of reliability and uptime, suitable for mission-critical applications and services."

The Tier-III design certification indicates that OADC Isando has been designed for high availability and redundancy, featuring multiple distribution paths for power and cooling, as well as concurrently maintainable infrastructure.

Representing the Uptime Institute, Tarik Bahanniss, vice-president, Africa, stated, "We are pleased to award OADC Isando with the Tier III Certification of Design Documents, the first step toward the important Tier Certification of Constructed Facility award. This certification reflects OADC's dedication to global standards, beginning with the first set of design documents criteria set forth by Uptime Institute."

With over 3,000m² of technical space and a site load of 12MW, OADC Isando has become a formidable hub providing scalable solutions tailored to the evolving needs and performance requirements of clients. As a truly open-access and carrier-neutral facility, strategically located adjacent to major fibre routes, it offers a gateway to an extensive selection of onsite providers and metro connectivity to key data centres in the Johannesburg area.

"OADC Isando is not just a data centre; it is a comprehensive, vibrant interconnected digital ecosystem and a strategic partner for clients seeking reliable, secure and sustainable infrastructure and connectivity solutions," added Dr Coker. "We remain committed to providing our clients with services to support their business growth and success."

Digital infrastructure South Africa

OADC offers a unique core-to-edge proposition within South Africa, featuring four Tier-III facilities and 30 edge data centres. These facilities provide open access to over 20,000km of terrestrial fibre, 16 terabits-per-second (Tbps) capable national and metro networks, and to the eight subsea systems connecting South Africa over multiple routes to Europe and Asia. This infrastructure extends data storage, processing, and content delivery to the network edge, enhancing application performance and allowing critical data to be processed locally. The edge data centres, situated within major business and connectivity hubs, are carrier-neutral and open-access. With the best power rates in the industry, OADC is the fastest-growing data centre company in Africa.

Google's Umoja cable bridges Africa and Australia, enhancing digital connectivity. (Image source: Google Cloud)

Google has unveiled new investments aimed at enhancing digital infrastructure and bolstering security measures to promote increased digital connectivity, spur economic growth, and fortify resilience throughout Africa

Umoja: Bridging Africa and Australia

Google introduces Umoja, a pioneering fiber optic pathway, marking the first direct connection between Africa and Australia. Originating in Kenya, this cable will traverse through Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, integrating with the Google Cloud region, before spanning the Indian Ocean to reach Australia. Developed in partnership with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Umoja is designed as a scalable network with multiple access points, enabling broader utilisation across the continent.

Named after the Swahili term for unity, Umoja is part of the Africa Connect initiative, complementing Equiano. This venture aims to bolster interconnectivity within Africa and with the global community. The establishment of a novel route, distinct from existing networks, is pivotal for ensuring network resilience in a region prone to significant outages.

The collaboration with African and Australian leaders has been instrumental in realising the Africa Connect project, which promises to benefit individuals, enterprises, and governments both in Africa and globally.

Meg Whitman, U.S. ambassador to Kenya, “Access to the latest technology, supported by reliable and resilient digital infrastructure, is critical to growing economic opportunity. This is a meaningful moment for Kenya’s digital transformation journey and the benefits of today’s announcement will cascade across the region.”

William S Ruto, president of the Republic of Kenya, added, “I am delighted to welcome Google’s investment in digital connectivity, marking a historic milestone for Kenya, Africa, and Australia. The new intercontinental fiber optic route will significantly enhance our global and regional digital infrastructure. This initiative is crucial in ensuring the redundancy and resilience of our region’s connectivity to the rest of the world, especially in light of recent disruptions caused by cuts to sub-sea cables. By strengthening our digital backbone, we are not only improving reliability but also paving the way for increased digital inclusion, innovation, and economic opportunities for our people and businesses.”

Michelle Rowland MP, Australian minister for communications, remarked, “Diversifying Australia’s connectivity and supporting digital inclusion across the globe are both incredibly important objectives, and Google’s Umoja cable will help to do just that. Australia welcomes Google’s investment and congratulates all those involved in undertaking this crucial initiative.”

Strive Masiyiwa, chairman and founder of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, commented, “Africa’s major cities including Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, and Harare will no longer be hard-to-reach endpoints remote from the coastal landing sites that connect Africa to the world. They are now stations on a data superhighway that can carry thousands of times more traffic than currently reaches here. I am proud that this project helps us deliver a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind, regardless of how far they are from the technology centers of the world.”

Microsoft & G42 partner with Kenya for a US$1bn digital investment, including a green data centre, AI development, and skilling initiatives, advancing East Africa. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Microsoft Corp. and G42 have unveiled an all-encompassing bundle of digital investments in Kenya, as part of an endeavor with the Republic of Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy

In partnership with Microsoft and other stakeholders, G42 will oversee the coordination of an initial investment of US$1bn for the diverse components detailed in the comprehensive package. A primary focus of the Kenyan investment is a cutting-edge green data centre to be constructed by G42 and its associates to operate Microsoft Azure in a fresh East Africa Cloud Region.

The endeavor will encompass four supplementary pillars that will be pursued alongside local partners: native-language AI model development and exploration; an East Africa innovation lab coupled with extensive AI digital skills training; global and local connectivity investments; and cooperation with the Kenyan government to endorse safe and protected cloud services throughout East Africa.

Eco-friendly data center infrastructure and a fresh East Africa cloud zone are part of the agreement. As per the arrangement, G42, alongside local partners, will plan and construct a state-of-the-art data center campus in Olkaria, Kenya, powered entirely by renewable geothermal energy and equipped with state-of-the-art water conservation technology. The data center will operate on and offer access to Microsoft Azure through a new East Africa Cloud Region, which is expected to be operational within 24 months of the signing of the definitive agreements.

This cloud zone will grant customers entry to adaptable, protected, high-speed cloud and AI services to hasten cloud adoption and the digital evolution of enterprises, clients, and associates across Kenya and East Africa.

His Excellency, president, Dr William Samoei Ruto, stated that, “This partnership is bigger than technology itself. It is about coming together of three countries with a common vision of a nation empowered by technology, where every citizen has the opportunity to thrive in the global digital landscape. It’s about building a future where Kenya flourishes as a digital leader.”

The president emphasised, “In the spirit of mutual growth and shared prosperity, this LOI is a stepping stone toward a brighter, more connected and digitally empowered future for the USA, Kenya and the UAE. It embodies our collective aspiration to bridge the digital divide, accelerate technological innovation, and pave the way for a thriving digital economy that benefits the entire African continent and beyond.”

Peng Xiao, group chief executive officer of G42, said, “In partnership with Microsoft, we are excited to work with the Kenyan government to usher in a transformative era for the digital ecosystem in Kenya and the region. By establishing a green data center and developing AI tailored to the local culture, G42 is committed to fostering sustainable technological growth. This initiative will empower the Kenyan government and communities with robust, secure cloud services and AI capabilities, providing the foundation for a thriving digital economy across the region.”

Development of Swahili/English AI models and launch of AI societal services

To support national economic growth and development and support Kenya’s unique cultural and linguistic needs, G42 has begun work through its data infrastructure in the United States to train an open-source large language AI model in Swahili and English. To build on this and help accelerate advanced research in Kenya, Microsoft and G42 will increase their combined collaboration and support for local universities, through the Microsoft Africa Research Institute, the Microsoft AI for Good Lab, the Mohammed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence in Abu Dhabi, and select universities from Kenya and East Africa.

Microsoft’s AI for Good Lab in Nairobi will use AI technology to work with nonprofit organisations and other partners to help address economic and societal priorities across East Africa. This will include work to enhance food security by using advanced AI techniques to make site-specific fertiliser recommendations that increase agricultural productivity while minimising environmental impacts. It will also include support for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), using AI high-resolution satellite data to monitor and reduce water risks for downstream wildlife and communities in northern Kenya.

In addition, collaborating with the Kenya Red Cross Society, Kenya Space Agency and National Disaster Management Unit, the AI for Good Lab will work to improve climate resilience by applying AI models to high-resolution satellite data for both disaster preparedness and disaster response. And in collaboration with the Smithsonian and Kenya Wildlife Trust, the Lab will use high-resolution satellite imagery and AI to monitor wildlife populations and track livestock expansion near protected areas in East Africa.

East Africa Innovation Lab and skilling support

Microsoft and G42 will launch and operate an East African Innovation Lab in Nairobi to help Kenyan and other East African startups, entrepreneurs, companies and organisations develop and implement cloud and AI services. The East Africa Innovation Lab will provide design sessions and rapid prototyping using Microsoft tools and technology, with skilling and mentorship support from Microsoft developers who work in the company’s Africa Development Center, which has 500 employees in Nairobi.

To help accelerate digital adoption, Microsoft and G42 will collaborate with a wide array of local partners to provide a range of digital and AI skills across Kenyan society and create a future-ready workforce. This will include offering digital and AI skilling programs to all government employees, a cybersecurity skilling program for more than 2,000 people per year, and a business skilling program for young entrepreneurs aged 18 to 24. The two companies will expand on ongoing relationships and work with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Stanbic Kenya Foundation, MPESA Foundation, UNDP Kenya, Young African Leaders Initiative, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and the United States International University-Africa.

Internet connectivity

Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy will continue to expand work with Microsoft and G42 to broaden internet connectivity. G42 and its UAE ecosystem partners will leverage their resources to support Kenya’s development of international and domestic marine and terrestrial fiber cable infrastructure.

Microsoft will continue to expand its work to bring last-mile wireless internet access to 20 million people in Kenya and 50 million people across East Africa by the end of 2025. This will build on the company’s partnerships with Mawingu Networks, Liquid, CSquared and other local partners in Kenya. It will also include work with M-KOPA, one of the largest providers of solar home systems globally. As part of a fintech financing platform, M-KOPA has pioneered a pay-as-you-go model for smartphones ownership, with 2 million devices sold to date across the region.

Digital safety, privacy and security

Microsoft and G42 will work with the government of Kenya and will design and operate the new East Africa cloud region as part of a “trusted data zone” based on global standards to protect digital safety, privacy and security. With technical assistance and support from G42 and Microsoft, Kenya will establish the new data center as part of a “trusted data zone” under which data from other countries may be governed by their local laws, even while stored and resident in Kenya.
Kenya will utilize the new data center and cloud services for governmental and citizen services, and it will provide government support by adopting a “cloud-first” policy like those enacted in other countries to permit and encourage the government, its agencies, state-owned enterprises and other local entities to move their data and computing services to the cloud.

The parties will also work together to pursue the steps needed to ensure Kenya has sufficient contractual and technical assurances to support trusted digital and sovereign cloud services from the UAE, to facilitate rapid digital transformation even before the completed construction of the G42-Microsoft services in Kenya itself.

Microsoft will provide cybersecurity assistance and support to its customers in Kenya and across East Africa, including through the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) and the Microsoft Threat Analysis Center (MTAC).

Microsoft creates platforms and tools powered by AI to deliver innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of our customers. The technology company is committed to making AI available broadly and doing so responsibly, with a mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more

Afreximbank and MobiHealth team up to expand telemedicine in Africa, aiming for better healthcare access in Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, and Côte d'Ivoire. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and MobiHealthCare Limited (MobiHealth) have signed an agreement for a project preparation facility aimed at expanding MobiHealth’s telemedicine services in Nigeria and evaluating the potential for similar services in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, and Côte d'Ivoire

According to the agreement, Afreximbank will partially fund the preparatory activities for leveraging MobiHealth’s integrated telemedicine platform, initially piloted in Nigeria, to the four additional countries. This initiative is expected to quickly lead to the establishment of a network of telemedicine clinics across Africa, fully equipped with outpatient facilities. The project preparation facility, amounting to up to US$1.5mn, is anticipated to advance the project to a bankable stage, which could then attract further investments estimated at US$65mn.

The preparatory facility aims to accelerate the deployment of digital healthcare solutions, improving access, efficiency, and quality of healthcare. MobiHealth’s platform employs both local and diaspora medical professionals to diagnose and prescribe treatments remotely. This approach reduces waiting and travel times, provides new ways to reach underserved populations, and removes barriers to healthcare access.

Additionally, Afreximbank will act as the mandated lead arranger, overseeing senior debt syndication for the project's implementation.

The MobiHealth transaction was initiated through the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) platform under its 'Women as Investment Champions' initiative. Afreximbank is one of the founding partners of the AIF, which has played a key role in securing a US$1.0mn grant for MobiHealth from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade and Export Development Bank, Afreximbank, commented, “This initiative will fundamentally reshape the delivery of healthcare services with broader implications for healthcare services across the continent. We will not only be embracing digital technology but also harnessing the same to help our member countries accelerate their progress towards the attainment of Universal Healthcare Coverage, and improve equitable access to quality, affordable healthcare. Afreximbank is pleased to join USTDA to support bankable studies and services to ensure advancement of this impactful health project.”

Dr. Funmi Adewara, Chief Executive Officer and the project sponsor of MobiHealth, said, “The signing of this facility agreement marks yet another significant milestone in MobiHealth’s quest to proffer digital healthcare solutions across the continent. We are thrilled to have the support of Afreximbank, a pan-African multilateral financial institution with the scale and capacity to enable us to achieve this objective in a timely manner. Their involvement is a strong validation for our business model and I would like to laud Afreximbank, AIF and USTDA for their visionary leadership and steadfast commitment to support the provision of quality healthcare to African citizens.”

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