Equinix will invest $390m in Africa over the next five years to build data centres and expand its operations across South Africa and West Africa. 

The US data centre operator said it is also looking for investment opportunities across East Africa.

“We will continue to invest where it makes sense on the continent, and we are undergoing a number of studies to ascertain these opportunities,” Equinix South Africa managing director Sandile Dube said in an interview. 

Equinix entered Africa in 2022 after acquiring the MainOne Cable Company for $320m and built its first data centre in South Africa in 2023. 

Africa has attracted investment from leading technology companies in recent years. The growing demand for connectivity and storage on the continent has attracted investment from companies including Microsoft, Amazon, and China’s Huawei.

The continent makes up just one percent of global data centre capacity and has been spotted as a prime growth opportunity by investors.

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Big Tech is continuing to spend huge amounts of money on data centres as the demand for high intensity computing power grows.

Meta is currently building an $800m data centre in Indiana specifically for AI

The centre will create around 100 new jobs and Meta has an agreement with the state of Indiana to receive tax benefits. 

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, recently warned that a major energy breakthrough was needed to sustain AI progress and innovation. 

Data centres already require a huge amount of power to sustain the swathes of data that AI needs. Generative AI can create image or text responses to prompts because it has been trained on a huge amount of data and can use that data to predict what a response may be. 

In its 2023 thematic intelligence report into AI, GlobalData’s research reaffirms that whilst data management is not a unique issue to AI, it is a foundational layer to the technology and sustainability concerns surrounding it must be accounted for.