Private equity fund AIIM, Onix Data Centres acquire controlling stake in Ngoya Etix DC

GHANA – African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), an infrastructure-focused private equity fund manager, in conjunction with Onix Data Centres have acquired a majority stake in Ngoya Etix DC, a carrier-neutral data centre.

The acquisition was done through AIIM’s flagship pan-African infrastructure fund, AIIF3.

The Ghanaian facility will be renamed to Onix Accra 1, with connectivity provided by Vodafone Group Ltd., Comsys Holdings Corp and CSquared Innovations Inc, and will ramp up the size into the largest Data Center in the West African country providing physical space, power, cooling, connectivity and security to customers.

The acquisition comes at a time when Africa’s digital economy is growing exponentially. Between 2010 and 2019, more than 300 million Africans gained access to the internet, marking a shift towards digital processes and lifestyles.

Digital access is increasingly fundamental to economic growth and the socioeconomic advancement of individuals. Although small, the sub-Saharan African data centre market is growing fast with co-location capacity increasing by 50% in 2020, from 2019 levels.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further demonstrated the need for digital infrastructure investment, with 75% of the population expected to have access to the internet by 2025.

Connectivity for Onix Accra 1 is provided by Vodafone, Comsys, and CSquared, offering both primary and redundant capacity, with other carriers lined up to provide additional capacity.

“The acquisition marks AIIF3’s second investment in the digital infrastructure sphere during the last four months.  Whilst we have seen considerable interest in the African data centre sector, the evolution of in-country capacity in many markets outside of South Africa, remains nascent and inadequate to meet rising data demands, migration of enterprises to the cloud, and the need for content closer to end consumers,” Ed Stumpf, investment director at AIIM, said.

“Data centres underpin and enable the digital economy and present strong growth prospects for long-term investors such as AIIM. We look forward to partnering with our in-country partner, Sam Ankrah of Africa Investment Group Properties and the management team, who will assist with the establishment of the Onix Data Centre platform and help establish Onix Accra 1 as a market leader in Ghana.”

Onix DC has plans to install an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in the facility, ensuring a comprehensive and robust connectivity ecosystem for its customer base of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), telcos, governments, Content Distribution Networks (CDNs), cloud providers, hyperscalers and large enterprises.  

“I am delighted that we have been able to acquire this data centre, with the support of AIIM, who are longstanding supporters of, and investors in Ghana.  We have well-developed plans to deliver a high-quality facility and see this as an optimum time to be investing in the Ghana market,” Michael Nahon, CEO of Onix, commented.

Onix Accra 1 is partly powered by solar energy which helps reduce its carbon footprint in the immediate locality. 

This is the fund’s second investment in digital infrastructure in the past four months, after MetroFiber Networx in South Africa.

Amazon.com Inc., and Microsoft Corp. have been investing in data center capacity mainly in South Africa, while Liquid Telecomunications Holdings Ltd and Actis Asset Management SA have raised a combined US$550 million for sector on the continent.

AIIM currently has US$2 billion in assets on the continent in telecommunications, energy and transport. The Old Mutual unit raised US$320 million for deals in 2019 and has raised USS$2.3 billion in total.

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