A landmark joint venture agreement (“JVA”) between Africa’s leading data centre operator, Open Access Data Centres (“OADC”), a WIOCC Group company, and TEXAF, one of the DRC’s oldest business groups, was signed this past July. The JVA crystallizes the two parties’ intention to usher in the next evolution of the DRC’s digital ecosystem by launching the country’s first open access, carrier-neutral data centre. The joint venture will be operated through their co-owned subsidiary, Open Access Data Entres-TEXAF Digital (DRC). The JV brings together OADC’s pan-African data centre operating expertise, coupled with the WIOCC Group’s continent-wide hyperscale connectivity infrastructure and capabilities, with TEXAF’s deep knowledge and experience investing and operating businesses in the DRC for almost a century.
The new data centre is a key piece in the new epoch of the DRC’s digital ecosystem.
OADC Kinshasa, is well-advanced and is scheduled to launch data centre operations in Q4 2023. The facility will be 2MW-capable and will ultimately have capacity for more than 550 racks across 1,000 square meters of white space. Certified as a Tier III facility by the Uptime Institute, OADC Kinshasa has already attracted significant interest in the market from major local and multinational corporates seeking to collocate in the new facility, including banks and telecommunications operators. Furthermore, OADC Kinshasa is already luring large international digital content providers seeking to expand their services in the vast and fast-growing DRC market.
OADC’s entry into the DRC will have a multi-faceted and long-term impact on the economy of the country. OADC Kinshasa is a true example of converged open digital infrastructure, or “CODI”, as it merges the provision of carrier-neutral and “open access” data centre facilities connected to hyperscale data networks (subsea and terrestrial networks form the core of WIOCC Group’s business). A rich and vibrant digital ecosystem meets at the intersection of these two key infrastructure components (data centres and hyperscale data networks), bringing a boost to the DRC’s economy and expediting digital transformation across the country.
The first of the ongoing and lasting impacts is already evident as OADC Kinshasa will be the first to house a vibrant and comprehensive interconnection and peering ecosystem in the country involving multiple telecommunications carriers, ISPs, content providers and internet exchanges, transforming the nation’s digital infrastructure ecosystem. OADC Kinshasa is expected to boost the country’s internet penetration which Internet World Stats reports was only 17.4% at the start of 2022, compared to 43.0% for Africa as a whole and 68.6% for the rest of the world. Likewise, cloud and internet services can be expected to increase consumer use of online applications such as Facebook which, according to Internet World Stats, had only 5.4% of the country’s population as subscribers versus 18.6% for Africa as a whole and 38.1% for the rest of the world.