First Brick Holdings set to invest in Ethiopia’s first privately owned data centre facility



The number of data and internet subscribers in Ethiopia has grown from a mere 0.8 million in 2011/2012 to 17.9 million in 2017/2018 registering a CAGR of 87% for the period

US-based investment company First Brick Holdings has announced that it is establishing and investing in Raxio Ethiopia – a firm set to build and operate the first privately owned data centre in Ethiopia.

The announcement was made at the Datacloud Africa Leadership Summit in Accra last week.

In line with First Brick’s first data centre facility in Uganda, Raxio Uganda, the new data centre will be constructed and operated as a Tier III standard facility, serving the demand for co-location data centre services in Ethiopia, the company revealed.

The number of mobile subscribers in Ethiopia has grown from 17.2 million in 2011/2012 to 40.2 million in 2017/2018 showing a CAGR of 13% per annum, according to Ethio Telecom’s NBE Annual Report.

The announcement comes as the telecoms sector in Ethiopia becomes increasingly liberalised, with recent regulatory changes designed to enable broader technology access and encourage the development of technology infrastructure.

The company also revealed that the key target industries for Raxio Ethiopia will be financial services, cloud service providers, IT companies, media companies, local and regional enterprises, and content delivery networks.

As the telecom sector opens up, new carriers and internet service providers will join to create a new hub of connectivity in the country.

The data centre facility is set to adhere to the principle of neutrality, both for carriers and ISPs as new players begin to enter the Ethiopian market, and for cloud service providers, that will be able to operate freely from within the data centre.


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Raxio will also supplement its core colocation offering with several additional services, including cross connection and remote hands.

“Recent ICT and regulatory trends in Ethiopia mark it out as an ideal location for high-quality co-location data centre services,” said Robert Mullins, Executive Director at First Brick Holdings.

“The government has embarked on a process that will lead to a broader liberalisation of the telecom sector where new operators will be allowed to enter the market, and there is also a large opportunity for the numerous local, regional and international cloud services providers seek adequate facilities in-country from where they can provide their services.

“We believe Raxio Ethiopia will have a transformational effect on the Ethiopian digital economy by providing a critical and missing part of digital infrastructure in the country.

“The state-of-the-art facility will enable Ethiopian companies to operate more effectively locally, to compete in a regional and global context and will provide an environment where new companies focused on the digital economy can thrive.

“It will have significant knock-on effects, creating opportunities for technology-savvy employment and broader technological exchange.”

Raxio Ethiopia is the second major investment First Brick Holdings is making in data centres across Eastern and Southern Africa, following the development of Uganda’s first carrier-neutral data centre (Raxio Uganda) which is due for completion in February 2020.

First Brick Holdings plans to complete more data centre investments in the region within the next four years, with five Tier III data centres due to be live by 2022.

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