A new data center in Douala, owned by French multinational telecommunications company Orange, promises to bring greater connectivity to Cameroon and Central Africa.
The facility itself is 10,800 sq ft (1000 sq m), contained in a 139,000 sq ft (12,880 sq m) building, alongside offices and a command room which connects to Orange sites across the continent. The carrier-neutral data center promises 99.98 percent uptime and boasts the quality of an unspecified thermal containment system.
Bruno Mettling, Orange’s deputy CEO for operations in Africa and the Middle East, stated that the company’s Cameroonian subsidiary had been a “benchmark” for the country in terms of connectivity and that it would strive to be “the first to offer Cameroon the necessary infrastructure to facilitate its digital transformation.”
“What we are living today is a new step in this [digital] revolution: that of facilities with more and more services for individuals, enterprises and public administration bodies.”
Orange offers mobile services in 19 countries across the African continent, although it outsources the management of its networks in nine West African countries to Huawei. Beginning next year, Orange plans to launch its public cloud service for large international enterprises in the Middle East and Africa.
Other data center operators in Cameroon include mobile telecom company MTN and the country’s postal service, Campost, whose $52m facility was funded by the Export-Import Bank of China on a concessional loan basis.
Picking up pace
Foreign investment in Africa has increased exponentially in recent years as the continent’s middle class has grown, feeding new requirements for digital infrastructure, and businesses (as well as some governments) have developed a sense of the potential gains as the region has gradually become more connected.
A 2015 study found that demand for colocation in Africa was accelerating two to three times faster than supply, and another published last year noted that more efforts to build resilient power supplies and increased investment in satellite broadband and cable upgrades would encourage growth in the data center industry.
While IBM has built its own cloud data center in South Africa, and Microsoft will soon be hosting its cloud services from existing data centers in the country, others have capitalized on the continent’s lack of infrastructure: Flexenclosure, a Swedish prefabricated data center company, has deployed dozens of data centers housed in shipping containers, capable of braving heat, flooding, earthquakes and insect infestations.