Envisioning Africa’s digital destiny with the African data center association

By Paul-Francois Cattier, President Francophone Africa at Schneider Electric

Africa is a huge continent, it could contain USA, China, India, Europe and Japan, it is also a 1.2 Billion people continent, that will be 3 Billion people in 2050 and most probably, half of the planet population will live in Africa by the end of the century.

By 2035, sub-Saharan Africa will have added more working-age people to their workforce than the rest of the world’s regions combined.

With a median age of 17 years old population, Africa is now leapfrogging into new technology with a huge adoption of Smartphone.

A recent annual report published in Africanews reveals that Africa has seen the fastest growth rates in internet penetration, with the number of internet users across the continent increasing by more than 20% compared to 2017.

And most of this year’s growth in internet users has been driven by more affordable smartphones and mobile data plans.

This article originally appeared in the Data Economy magazine, Vol. 7. Click the above image to read more.

African use their smartphone, for processes that currently do not exist, as for example:

  •  Limited African retail banking systems – Africa develops mobile banking
  • Too complex Insurance process to reach out population – Africa develops mobile insurance
  • Difficulty to bring together farmers and Traders, Africa develops a Mobile Agriculture trade platform
  • Limited Health and social security support to population – Africa develops an apps to remind mothers Vaccination dates for their kids by SMS.
  • etc…the startups are boiling here.

These apps are a necessity, to fill the gap of Africa, faster and cheaper, enabling Africa to leapfrog into the latest, simplest technologies and processes; they also represent a mass of highly valuable data.

While Telecom Operators have deployed 2G, 3G and 4G network covering a pretty large part of the continent, now that optical fiber network investment is booming in country and across countries, it is time to develop the third Infrastructure leg of a Digital Economy: the Data Center Infrastructure.

The wide adoption of cloud computing services, as well as new approaches to data storage, have broken down traditional geopolitical barriers more than ever before.

In response, many countries have regulated new compliance requirements by implementing legislation that requires customer data to be kept within the country where the customer resides.

This data sovereignty and its importance has been well understood by African governments.

If you are a Bank and you want to operate in a country, your Data has to be hosted in the country and the mirror site, in the economic Zone to which belongs this country (there are 5 economic Zone in Africa).

So where should the African IT load be hosted?

In Africa, by African Colocation and Cloud Service Companies.


Africa Data Center Association

The Africa Data Center Association (ADCA) is the trade organization of data center operators in Africa, who deliver the foundation of the Africa’s digital economy.

The Association brings together the leading data center operators and partners on the continent in a shared mission: the strengthening of economic growth and the profiling of the data center sector to governments, educational institutions, the media and society at large.

Today, we envisage a variety of activities:

  • We promote the data center industry, with its colocation and cloud services, to build a reliable IT infrastructure in Africa;
  • Ready to share our technical expertise, we structure best practices exchanges among our members. We then facilitate and encourage members to implement operational improvements in the form of best practices. We contribute to technical standards.
  • Leading on social responsibility, we address the climate change and energy access dilemma in Africa
  • Acknowledging the importance of talent development, we develop the necessary education recommendations for a competent workforce, and,
  • Working with governments, in a structured fashion, to support policy development. We express industry views on regulatory and policy issues.

Africa is managing its own destiny, and a big part of this destiny is Digital, your subscription to ADCA will boost Africa’s digital economy.