African Infrastructure Investment Managers acquires majority stake in Ghana-based data centre

AdobeStock 123123866African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), one of Africa’s largest infrastructure-focused private equity fund managers, and Onix Data Centres  (“Onix DC”), have acquired a majority stake in Ngoya Etix DC (Ghana, a carrier-neutral data centre with a current capacity of 170 racks (expandable to 680 racks), via AIIM’s flagship pan-African infrastructure fund, AIIF3

Located in the Greater Accra region of Ghana, the facility – to be renamed Onix Accra 1 – is the only Tier IV* data centre in the country and is expected to be the largest operational data centre in Ghana once fully ramped-up, providing physical space, power, cooling, connectivity and security to customers. 

The acquisition comes at a time when Africa’s digital economy is growing exponentially. Between 2010 and 2019, more than 300 million Africans gained access to the internet, marking a shift towards digital processes and lifestyles. Digital access is increasingly fundamental to economic growth and the socioeconomic advancement of individuals. Although small, the sub-Saharan African data centre market is growing fast with co-location capacity increasing by 50% in 2020, from 2019 levels. The Covid-19 pandemic has further demonstrated the need for digital infrastructure investment, with 75% of the population expected to have access to the internet by 2025. 

Connectivity for Onix Accra 1 is provided by Vodafone, Comsys, and CSquared, offering both primary and redundant capacity, with other carriers lined up to provide additional capacity. Onix DC has plans to install an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in the facility, ensuring a comprehensive and robust connectivity ecosystem for its customer base of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), telcos, governments, Content Distribution Networks (CDNs), cloud providers, hyperscalers and large enterprises.   

The acquisition consortium was led by AIIM, alongside key members of the Onix DC management team.  

Ed Stumpf, investment director at AIIM, said “The acquisition marks AIIF3’s second investment in the digital infrastructure sphere during the last four months.  Whilst we have seen considerable interest in the African data centre sector, the evolution of in-country capacity in many markets outside of South Africa, remains nascent and inadequate to meet rising data demands, migration of enterprises to the cloud, and the need for content closer to end consumers. Data centres underpin and enable the digital economy and present strong growth prospects for long-term investors such as AIIM. We look forward to partnering with our in-country partner, Sam Ankrah of Africa Investment Group Properties and the management team, who will assist with the establishment of the Onix Data Centre platform and help establish Onix Accra 1 as a market leader in Ghana.” 

Michael Nahon, CEO of Onix, commented: “I am delighted that we have been able to acquire this data centre, with the support of AIIM, who are longstanding supporters of, and investors in Ghana.  We have well-developed plans to deliver a high-quality facility and see this as an optimum time to be investing in the Ghana market.” 

Onix Accra 1 is partly powered by solar energy which helps reduce its carbon footprint in the immediate locality.  

AIIM’s investment in Onix DC follows its acquisition of a minority stake in MetroFibre Networx (Pty), a South African open access fibre network operator, acquired via its AIIF3 and IDEAS funds.  

*A Tier IV data centre gives its clients a guarantee of uptime and 2N (two times the amount required for operation) cooling and redundant power and infrastructure. Tier IV is considered an enterprise-level service and has approximately twice the site infrastructure of a Tier III location. The Global Data Center Authority’s “Uptime Institute” is responsible for the proprietary “Tier Standard System”. 

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