Wiocc raises R3.2-billion as it pursues Africa data centre opportunity

Wiocc CEO Chris Wood

African infrastructure company Wiocc, which was one of the founding investors in the Eassy submarine cable system along Africa’s east coast, has raised US$200-million (R3.2-billion) in new funding to build data centres and other infrastructure on the continent.

The company, which describes itself as a “capacity wholesaler”, said on Wednesday that the capital raise – made up of both debt and equity – will also be used to expand its connectivity within Africa and internationally.

Cape IV, a fund managed by private equity firm African Capital Alliance (ACA), provided the equity funding. The debt portion came from the International Finance Corporation, Proparco and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund managed by Ninety One. Verdant Capital acted as financial advisor to Wiocc for the equity portion.

Wiocc CEO Chris Wood said ACA’s “track record and partnership mentality will be a welcome addition to Wiocc”.

On the back of the capital raising, Wiocc has created a new group company called Open Access Data Centres, or OADC, to “launch a network of pan-African data centres optimised to serve the needs of the cloud provider and wholesale community”.

The first of these planned carrier-neutral data centres will house “key submarine cable landings in Lagos, Durban and Mogadishu, supporting the drive to land international submarine capacity directly into carrier-neutral data centres”.

“Each will provide clients with bespoke colocation facilities and ultra-reliable, seamless connectivity directly into new international subsea systems, eliminating the costs and risks traditionally associated with terrestrial backhauling.”

Strategic locations

The company said construction and “fit-out” is already under way in Lagos and Durban, with both facilities to be launched early next year, while the Mogadishu site will be ready before the end of 2022.

“Further phases of deployment will deliver more than 20 new data centres in strategic locations throughout the continent, focusing on major connectivity hubs in each country,” Wiocc said.

“As well as introducing a strong new investor into the company, the capital will be used to support Wiocc’s expansion strategy across Africa and accelerate its investment in enhancing the continent’s digital infrastructure,” the company said in a statement.

Further phases of deployment will deliver more than 20 new data centres in strategic locations throughout the continent

Wiocc is also investing in Equiano, the new Google-backed submarine cable system on Africa’s west coast, as well as the Facebook-backed 2Africa system, which, when completed, will encircle the continent and connect parts of the Middle East and Asia.

“Wioccs’s terrestrial strategy, which includes deployment of metro and national networks in key locations, will be extended to include new countries and metropolitan areas, increasing its portfolio of end-to-end solutions for clients across Africa,” it said.  – © 2021 NewsCentral Media

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Source: techcentral.co.za