After Raxio in Uganda, First Brick Holdings to fund construction of multiple data centres in Africa

First Brick Holdings, part of Roha Group, has announced plans for multiple investments to boost the digitalisation of East and Southern Africa with the funding, and development, of several data centres across the region. These data centres will open up new opportunities for financial services, governments and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) by addressing their mission-critical needs for data storage, business continuity and disaster recovery and create a network of data centres able to accommodate international and regional customers in state-of-the-art facilities

“Economic growth in East Africa is averaging between 5-10 percent across the region. When combined with parallel trends in digitalisation and content consumption, we are seeing annual data usage and associated storage requirements increasing by 20-30 percent,” commented Robert Mullins, Executive Director at First Brick Holdings. “From mission-critical enterprise services to e-government initiatives, the digital transformation of East Africa is being held back by the lack of secure, scalable, reliable, low latency data storage solutions. By leading investment in, and development of, data centres in the region, we are unlocking this latent demand in the market and removing a significant barrier to the continued digital transformation of this exciting and vibrant market.”

First Brick Holdings’ initial investment is in Uganda, where the digital economy is accelerating at such a rate that there is an immediate requirement for facilities to store and process data safely and securely.

Raxio Data Centre is delivering Uganda’s first state-of-the-art Tier III, carrier-neutral data centre in the Namanve Industrial and Business Park. Due to open mid-2019, the data centre will have capacity for up to 400 racks, delivering 1.5MW of IT power.

The Raxio data centre will be a key pillar to Uganda’s digital economy, reducing the cost of connectivity in the country and attracting global cloud service providers, content distribution networks and regional carriers.

“Data centre installations in East Africa are lagging behind other emerging economies, despite the region facing similar underlying trends in terms of the growth of data usage and storage requirements,” said James Byaruhanga, the GM of Raxio Data Centre. “Businesses in Uganda are seeing their data requirements become increasingly more sophisticated and subject to data sovereignty compliance rules that necessitate local data storage and processing. These dynamics, coupled with the expansion ambitions of some of the world’s biggest companies who are either already active in or looking to expand into the East African market, is driving the commercial need for data centres.”

The desire for fast, affordable and safe digitalisation in Uganda is reflective of a broader need for data centre installations across East Africa. First Brick Holdings plans to invest in several more facilities across the continent, expecting five Tier III data centres to be live by 2022. With a total project investment of approximately $50 million, First Brick Holdings will address the latent demand for data centre infrastructure in various local markets.

“Our commitment to invest in this much-needed infrastructure is a fantastic opportunity for all players in the digital economy, lowering the overall cost of storing data and of operating increasingly complex and mission critical IT equipment. These state-of-art facilities will also serve as enablers, bringing access to local cloud computing closer to enterprises, and content closer to consumers,” concluded Mullins. “Not only that, but it will also contribute significantly to skilled job creation and tax revenue generation. East and Southern Africa is primed for these data centres and they will allow the region’s businesses to better compete on a global level.”

First Brick Holdings is a portfolio company of US-based investment firm, Roha Group which focuses on responsibly investing in and building profitable businesses across Africa. First Brick Holdings is East and Southern Africa’s premier platform of carrier neutral, colocation, Tier III data centres. Its first data centre investment – Raxio Data Centre in Uganda – is currently under development and scheduled to commercially launch in 2019. Investment plans are in place to establish a network of data centres across the East and Southern Africa region by 2022.

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