Africa’s largest fibre network provider, Liquid Telecom, has raised $307 million through a rights issue, as it seeks to expand its data center business across Africa.
The rights issue included $40 million equity investment from the U.K. development finance institution CDC Group. This is CDC’s second investment in Liquid, after a $180 million equity investment in 2018, which gave CDC a 10% stake in the firm.
According to the firm, they will use the funds to expand their pan-African data centre operation business, Africa Data Centres. The company is planning to expand its data center unit in five of the continent’s fastest-growing countries, including Egypt and Nigeria. Liquid has bought land in Nigeria and Ghana and is scouting for locations working on other major countries over the continent. It is also acquiring a data center from Standard Bank Group Ltd. in South Africa, and building another nearby in Johannesburg.
Xalam Analytics reports that although Africa’s data center capacity has doubled in the past three years, it still accounts for less than 1% of the global total.
Liquid Telecom, which is majority-owned by Econet Global Ltd., has built more than 70,000 kilometers (43,500 miles) of fiber, and operates five data centers in South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda. According to Liquid Telecom, Africa’s current cloud computing capacity is three times less than that of London. The company estimates that there is less than 20% of potential telecommunications enterprise demand being served in Africa.