The Africa Data Centres (ADC) and the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) have signed an agreement to partner and set up a Data Hub in Accra to promote digitalisation and development where Ghana is set to benefit from a US $300 million fund.
Mr Scott Nathan, the Chief Executive Officer, DFC, who signed on behalf of his Corporation, said 50 million, representing 15 per cent of the total 300 million dollars committed by the DFC to building the hubs in Africa would be allotted to building the facility in Ghana. The Data Hub will help to attract data-driven companies looking for a foothold or to expand their operations in growing African economies.
Mr Scott Nathan noted that safe, secure and open information technology networks are a critical foundation for the development of any vibrant, innovative economy and a vital part of the infrastructure that allowed a dynamic private sector to grow and thrive.
The Hub would be up to social standards, be financially sustainable and environmentally friendly and support businesses while providing job opportunities.
Mr Finhai Munzara, Chief Financial Officer of ADC, who signed on behalf of his Centre, indicated each day on earth, 500 million tweets, 294 billion emails, four million gigabytes of Facebook data, 65 billion WhatsApp messages and 720,000 hours of new content added daily on YouTube were generated.
From under 200 Megawatts (MW) of Data Centre Capacity currently, he said Africa needed up to 1,000 MW and 700 facilities to meet demand.
After signing the US$300 million facility, Mr Munzara said the DFC had already supported ADC’s development of the critical infrastructure in Kenya and South Africa, as part of their ambitious plans to reach 10 of the Continent’s major economic hub.
The Vision of a ‘Digitally Connected Future that Leaves no African Behind’
The DFC also helped ADC’s parent company ‘Cassava Technologies’ to meet its vision of a ‘Digitally Connected Future that Leaves no African Behind’. “We are pleased to extend the strong relationship to enable faster digital transformation in Ghana, a country that is becoming a regional digital hub, enjoying a significant share of West Africa’s internet traffic,” he said.
Mr Munzara disclosed that ADC planned to deliver up to 30MW of IT capacity in Multiple Phases, within the Ghana Trade Fair site. He explained that the site was chosen as it provides a unique opportunity to deliver the critical hyperscale Information Technology infrastructure in a secure, central location within the city limits; and close to key connectivity infrastructure.
The U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Virginia Palmer, said technological advancement and digitalisation were the lifeblood of innovation and progress as they fuelled economic growth, drove entrepreneurship, and enhanced collective ability to solve the most pressing global challenges. “Their transformative power improves access to education, healthcare, and government services,” she added.
In December 2022 during the Africa Leaders’ Summit, President Joe Biden launched the Digital Transformation with Africa initiative, designed to expand digital access and literacy while strengthening digital enabling environments across Africa, the Ambassador said.
Working with Congress, she said the initiative intended to invest over $350 million and facilitate over $450 million in financing for Africa in line with the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy and the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa.
To improve access to agricultural and weather data, Madam Palmer said USAID was supporting the use of ICT-based tools to help smallholder farmers to manage their operations. “This initiative is helping stakeholders track and analyse disaster risk, enabling early warnings of and efficient responses to disasters such as flooding and fires to limit their impact on food security,” she said.
The Ambassador said support to streamline and digitise customs processes and business development services was improving revenue collection, reducing losses, and increasing investment in high-value agricultural goods. “The United States government is proud to be a partner in Ghana’s journey toward digital transformation. Together, we can build a brighter, more connected, and prosperous future for all,” she said