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Digital Realty, Equinix Fight For Data Center Supremacy In Africa

Both data center giants recently unveiled massive investments to acquire some of Africa’s largest data center providers in a bid to become the continent’s leading data center operator.

The world’s two largest data center providers are battling to become the leader in Africa with data center behemoths Digital Realty and Equinix recently unveiling massive plans to double down on the continent of nearly 1.4 billion people.

Austin, Texas-based Digital Realty unveiled plans Tuesday to become the leading colocation and interconnection provider in Africa by investing $3.5 billion to acquire a majority stake in Africa’s largest data center provider, Teraco.

In December, Redwood City, Calif.-based Equinix unveiled its plan to acquire MainOne, a leading West African data center provider, for $320 million in its bid to double down on the region, which is experiencing rapid digital transformation.

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Digital Realty CEO A. William Stein said buying a 55 percent majority stake in Teraco “immediately cements” his company as the leading colocation and interconnection provider in Africa.

“Teraco is the industry leader in South Africa and the continent’s connectivity hub. This investment will enhance our ability to serve customers on a global basis by adding significant regional scale with a premier, network-dense portfolio in South Africa’s most strategically important metros,” said Stein in a press release.

Teraco operates seven data centers located in key South African regions including Johnannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Teraco’s more than 600 customers include 275 connectivity providers, 25 cloud and content platforms and 300 enterprises. Teraco also hosts seven on-ramps to global cloud service providers and direct access to seven subsea cables. Last year, Digital Realty acquired Nigeria-based Medallion Data Centres for $29 million.

Equinix said its acquisition of MainOne marked the first step in its long-term strategy to become the leading data center provider in Africa.

Equinix President and CEO Charles Meyers, meanwhile, said that MainOne represents “critical assets in our aspirations to be the leading neutral provider of digital infrastructure” in Africa.

“Growth of data consumption in Africa is amongst the fastest in the world, and our customers are looking for a trusted partner to pursue the opportunities presented by broad mobile adoption and greater connectivity across the region,” said Meyers in a recent statement.

MainOne operates three data centers in key regions including Nigeria and Ghana with an additional facility currently under construction that is expected to open within the next few months.

Both data center giants said Africa’s data center market is expected to expand significantly over the next several years as the total population of Africa stands at nearly 1.4 billion people.

Both the Teraco and MainOne transactions are expected to close in the first half of 2022. Digital Realty will own approximately 55 percent of the total equity interests in Teraco, while the remaining 45 percent will be held by a consortium of existing investors.

Digital Realty’s global data center footprint includes more than 280 facilities in 48 metros across 24 countries on six continents. Equinix’s data center footprint includes more than 220 data centers located in 63 major metros around the world.

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