US President touts US$300m loan facility to Africa Data Centres

UNITED States President Joe Biden

UNITED States President Joe Biden has showcased a US$300 million loan facility extended to Africa Data Centres (ADC), a subsidiary of Strive Masiyiwa’s Cassava Technologies group.

The US President made reference to the funding in an announcement highlighting the US government’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) initiative during the 49th G7 summit held in Hiroshima, Japan, last week.

In a statement, which was later released by the White House, President Biden said the US Government will be funding the work that ADC is doing to build data centres across Africa.

The statement reads: “Under PGII (the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment), the USG (US Government) will work to construct data centres throughout Africa.

“This week, DFC (the US International Development Finance Corporation) announced it is using its US$300 million loan facility to Africa Data Centres (ADCs), Africa’s largest network of interconnected data facilities, to construct a first-of-its kind data centre in Ghana.

“Africa accounts for less than one percent of total available global data centre capacity despite being home to 17% of the world’s total population.

“This investment builds on the Vice-President (Kamala Harrris)’s recent trip to Ghana and is laying the groundwork for a digital revolution on the continent by increasing access to cloud-based technologies, bringing down the cost of internet, which facilitate greater access to women, and making the continent a more competitive destination for industry”.

ADC, which last week announced it was building a large data centre in Ghana, will use up to 30 MW of power. The company is Africa’s biggest builder of carrier neutral data centres outside South Africa, and has secured hundreds of millions of US dollars in funding from Sovereign Wealth Funds such as the US Government’s Developing Finance Corporation (DFC).

Data centres are needed to house the massive data demands of services like online education and news, social media platforms, media streaming and entertainment, as well as platforms such as mobile money and digital services from governments.

Africa has been slow to roll out such facilities, slowing down delivery of key digital services.

The proliferation of Cloud computing companies has made it easier for organisations to store information in the so called “Cloud”, and the Cloud is essentially housed by the huge data centres.

The Ghana facility will, therefore, be expected to attract investment from global digital companies.

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