Another multi-billion dollar investment eludes Nigeria as US Vantage Data picks SA for growth

The United States data giant, Vantage Data Centres has chosen South Africa over Nigeria for its more than $1 billion first African campus, the company said Wednesday.

Moderna, the pharmaceutical giants which shot into limelight with its sparkling success in leading the chase for a covid vaccine is currently reviewing a list of five countries to locate its multi-billion dollar plant to make the vaccine but analysts say Nigeria has only a little chance of being chosen.

Vantage Data expansion into Africa and its choice of South Africa, underscores the rising demand for cloud services even in relatively undeveloped corners of the technology universe and positions South Africa for more impactful foreign investment.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and most populous nation has fallen down the continent’s pecking order for foreign direct investment in recent years and it is slowing its recovery from two consecutive economic contractions in four years.

Three months ago, another global technology firm chose Ghana ahead of Nigeria as headquarters for its 500-man strong operation in Africa.

Vantage’s carrier‐neutral 80 megawatts-capacity facility will include 60,000 square metres of data space across three facilities in Johannesburg once fully developed, making it the largest in Africa, it said in a statement.

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The first phase of the campus is slated for completion by the third quarter of 2022 and will be powered by its own on‐site, high‐voltage substation, Vantage added. It will be developed by Attacq one of South Africa’s largest property developers.

“Johannesburg is the data centre hub for sub‐Saharan Africa due to its strategic location, IT ecosystem, fibre connectivity to the rest of Africa and the availability of renewable energy,” Antoine Boniface, the president of Vantage EMEA said.

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For companies, having local cloud storage could save costs since they would be able to rent storage instead of building their own servers or relying on other countries.

The global provider of wholesale data centres will challenge Amazon.com Inc which has also been expanding its presence in the emerging tech hub of Cape Town.

Microsoft Corp has also built two data centres in South Africa, one in Cape Town and one in Johannesburg, while China’s Huawei started building two data centres in South Africa in 2019.

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