US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman and UK High Commissioner Jane Marriott were among those present at the groundbreaking ceremony on January 19, 2023. [Photo/ @USAmbKenya]
US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman and UK High Commissioner Jane Marriott were among those present at the groundbreaking ceremony on January 19, 2023. [Photo/ @USAmbKenya]

The United States and United Kingdom are among backers of Africa Data Centres’ (ADC) new Nairobi facility. ADC, owned by Cassava Technologies Limited, operates data centres around the continent. The new facility will increase its capacity in Nairobi by up to 15MW of IT load.

The company had earlier secured a piece of land on Mombasa Road adjacent to its existing facility where the expansion will be undertaken. US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman and UK High Commissioner Jane Marriott were among those present at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, January 19, highlighting their respective countries’ support for the project.

The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) in 2021 announced the issuance of a $300 million direct loan to ADC to support the development, expansion, and operation of seven data centers in South Africa, Kenya, and other DFC-eligible countries. The financing is projected to unlock approximately 31.3 MW of IT load capacity in the next three years.

“The United States is investing millions of dollars in Africa’s digital transformation and today, I am delighted to announce $30 million (Ksh3.7 billion) in support of the expansion of the Africa Data Centers here in Nairobi,” Whitman noted at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Marriot disclosed that ADC had received over Ksh27 billion in UK support since 2018..

ADC’s expansion of its Nairobi facility is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2024 and will deliver five times more capacity than is currently installed. The new data facility will begin with 5MW of IT load and construction will adopt modular design – where the entire facility, including all critical plant rooms, are prefabricated off-site.

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Tesh Durvasula, CEO of Africa Data Centres, said, “The expansion will enable Africa Data Centre clients to grow and scale depending on their requirements. They can start small, increase to a medium capacity, and even benefit from a hyperscale type of deployment in a few years if they choose to. This will enable customers to operate multiple deployments across our sites with a single operations team, campus, and infrastructure they are familiar with.”

ADC handles data for many of Kenya’s biggest institutions including an estimated fifty percent of the banking sector.

The enactment of the Data Protection act is among factors that have forced public and private institutions in Kenya to scale up and streamline their data management in recent years, to ensure compliance with data protection regulations.

“We believe that data centres will play a significant role in digital transformation and economic growth on our continent. Without them, the push towards a digital economy in Africa will be missing a key pillar. Our decision to increase our investment in our data centres in Kenya is in recognition of the position the country now occupies as a leader in the adoption of digital technologies in Africa,” says Hardy Pemhiwa, Group President & CEO of Cassava Technologies.

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